The Gambia government and the World Bank have signed a US$68 million grant designed to revitalise and rejuvenate the country’s tourism sector.
The signing ceremony which was held at State House on Tuesday 5 July 2022 came on the heels of the visiting World Bank managing director of Operations, Mr. Axel Van Trotsenburg and Vice President for Western and Central Africa, Mr. Ousmane Diagana.
The grant is meant to support the diversification and climate resilience of the tourism sector in The Gambia.
The Tourism Diversification and Resilience in The Gambia project aims to assist the country by strengthening the institutional and policy framework, improve capabilities and access to funds for tourism related Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSME) suppliers, and enhance the attractiveness of selected existing but underdeveloped destinations. The project will also strengthen the sustainability of the coastal areas.
The project goal would be achieved through the following main interventions:
Policy framework and MSME participation which aims to address selected/identified key bottlenecks in the tourism ecosystem in The Gambia, to ensure the sector realises its potential as a source of sustainable and inclusive growth. The activities under this will focus on:(a) strengthening capacity for collecting relevant tourism data to inform policy decision-making; (b) enhancing marketing to promote recovery and diversification beyond traditional source markets and segments; (c) promoting the diversification of the destination and products beyond ‘sun and sea’ and (d) promoting tourism MSMEs’ sustainable integration into value chains with established end markets
Infrastructure support for the diversification and resilience of the tourism sector. This component will focus on strengthening and upgrading infrastructure to better preserve existing assets by being more resilient to the impacts of hazards and climate change as well as enhancing the attractiveness of tourism sites and promoting economic development.
Mr. Trotsenburg described the signing as important, taking into account the World Bank’s “long and strong” partnership with The Gambia.
The World Bank sees itself as a long term partner with The Gambia,” he said, noting that the partnership in the last five years has been very strong.
“We need to understand that The Gambia, like other African countries, is going through a difficult moment,” he said, citing the covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine as major factors.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Seedy Keita, hailed the project, saying it would revitalise the tourism sector and create jobs for Gambian youths.