Banjul – The Gambia is now at a critical crossroads - the nation, with about two million people has the world’s eyes focused on it. The goodwill of the international community, best wishes and support from the continental and regional entities continue to be visibly demonstrated through various dialogues, with proposed commitments of strategic and sustained assistance to the country.
Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO of the NEPAD Agency, attended a retreat of the Gambian Ministers of Cabinet, held in The Gambia’s capital, Banjul, between 4 -7 May 2017. Addressing HE Adama Barrow, President of the Republic of The Gambia, HE Fatoumata Tambajang, Minister for Women’s Affairs overseeing the Vice President’s Office and various other ministers, senior government and United Nations officials, Dr Mayaki reiterated that high expectations from both within and outside of The Gambia have been raised.
The expectations are raised from the country’s new era, which has enormous opportunities to both forge ahead and join African countries that have significantly transformed their economies and are set to become emerging markets.
During the retreat, Dr Mayaki also made the call for every African government to endeavour to work for the social and economic development of its people.
The African continent has shown that citizens who are confident, content and have high hopes for their future, are from those countries whose governments engage with their communities and citizens in nation building, responding to the needs of their people in public service delivery, and providing opportunities for gainful employment and skills. Good governance exists where space is created that allows people to participate freely in the processes of governance, and accord them the space to demand that they be governed well.
It was emphasised at the retreat that developing countries must endeavour to build ‘intelligent-partnerships.’ The Gambia’s national interests needed to be protected and guarded more, in ensuring that intelligent-partnerships are based on a “win-win” outcome for the country itself and its bilateral and global partners. The principles guiding intelligent-partnerships are anchored on:
- Joint programme planning, capacity development and skills transfers;
- Mutual knowledge exchange and mutual accountability;
- Alignment and coordination of project implementation.
Some of the key deliberations at the retreat of the Gambian Ministers of Cabinet, centred on building trust and collaboration at community level; the skills needed to strengthen leadership, and innovations for co-creating that the country as envisioned by its people.
Focus at the retreat was also on a roadmap with a short to medium scope that has to be developed for implementation. The roadmap should ideally stipulate key sector focus that could be on infrastructure-energy, fisheries and good governance. In this vein, public sector capacity as well as capacity for private sector development has to be supported and strengthen at all levels. Moreover, the Gambian private sector will also have to be supported in ways that allow it to grow, provide the goods and services needed and jobs for the growing labour force.
The size of the country itself does not matter, as many examples of ‘small’ countries that are major players in the global arena exist. It was concluded that through strategic reforms, which put people first by ensuring that a national development agenda is citizen-centred, The Gambia is well on its way to joining other emerging African countries on the sustainable development path.
Dr Mayaki indicated that the NEPAD Agency stands ready to support The Gambia in its roadmap development.
Source: NEPAD Agency