The European Union (EU) has on Monday announced it has disbursed EUR25 million of budget support for The Gambia’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The money is part of the Team Europe’s global package and the funds will contribute to the recovery from the pandemic and also support the transition towards democracy and medium-term development objectives.
Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, said in a statement: “With this budget support, the EU is contributing to mitigate the most urgent budgetary needs of The Gambian Government in the context of the pandemic. As The Gambia’s key partner, the European Union encourages the Government to strengthen democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and to take the lead in building the necessary national consensus around the future direction of the democratic transition, with a new Constitution at its core.”
According to the EU, this budget support serves to assist The Gambia in tackling its economic and fiscal impact, including the loss of government revenue as well as the unforeseen additional expenses and the consequences of global disruptions to supply chains. This will also contribute to The Gambia’s ongoing efforts to strengthen the democratic transition initiated in 2017.
Channelled to the National Treasury of The Gambia, “the EU funds will be used in accordance with The Gambia’s own Public Financial Management systems and policy priorities“, according to the EU statement. By providing fiscal space to address the pandemic and to continue financing basic public services such as healthcare and education, these funds will support The Gambia’s resilience to the crisis.
This funding also directly supports the long-term efforts to achieve debt sustainability. In addition, the EU will provide technical assistance and capacity building in areas such as public financial management and statistical development.
Since the democratic transition, the EU has provided to The Gambia EUR365 million in development funds during the period 2016-2020 and EUR38.95 million from the EU Emergency Trust Fund from 2015 to 2019.
The EU says it is committed to assist in strengthening the democratic and economic governance in The Gambia as well as its resilience capacity, adding that it supports the priorities of The Gambian Government in view of encouraging inclusive and sustainable growth, achieving the necessary reforms related to human rights, to democracy, and on the rule of law.