The European Union (EU) is set to release significant budgetary aid to The Gambia. The funds were earmarked for the year 2015/2016 but were frozen due to concerns over human rights and good governance in the Yahya Jammeh led government.
According to the EU Ambassador in the Gambia, Attila Lajos, the sum of €33 million will be made available to the Barrow administration. The EU envoy added that more funds will be made available if the government delivers on its promises.
“It is a fundamental concern of the European Union to support this democratic process in this country… We are at the start of a completely new chapter of the history of the EU-Gambia relations,” Lajos told journalists after a meeting with President Adama Barrow.
It is a fundamental concern of the European Union to support this democratic process in this country. We are at the start of a completely new chapter of the history of the EU-Gambia relations.
Talks to release the funds were stalled under the Jammeh regime after an EU Envoy Agnes Guillaud was expelled by the former government in 2015. It will be recalled that Jammeh refused the EU observers entry into the country in the run-up to the December 1, 2016 presidential elections.
The Gambia, Africa’s smallest mainland country was nearly thrown into political instability after former President Yahya Jammeh attempted to overturn a poll loss last December. Jammeh’s posture put the country on edge as his mandate expired on January 19.
Barrow took his oath of office in neighboring Senegal due to the security climate in the country. He however returned days after Jammeh accepted to leave the country into exile. He is currently in Equatorial Guinea after 22 years as president.
The Gambia is the smallest country on the African continent with a total area of 11,300 km² and a population of 1.9 million people (2013 census). It ranks 172 out of 187 countries on the 2014 UNDP Human Development Index. In 2014 the GDP per capita was US$ 543.
The partnership between the European Union and The Gambia is guided by the principles and objectives laid down in the Cotonou Agreement, the institutional framework which governs the relationship between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. The Gambia is a signatory to the Agreement.