Monday, December 4

Gambia’s Middle-Class Fear Slip to Poverty Line

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By: Sandally Sawo

Some of the Gambia’s middle class are now dealing with financial worries amidst fears of slipping to the poverty line, this medium can report.

Thousands of Gambian families are currently struggling to put food on the floor as food prices continue to shoot through the roof.

The unemployment rate in the country is also increasing as thousands of job seekers flood the job market annually.

There is currently no lack of cash in the country but it’s very hard to come by for many.

The average Gambian struggles on an almost daily basis to afford a three-square meal but the country’s economic hardship is seemingly seeping through to another class of Gambians; the middle class.  

Financial worries have started nagging some of the Gambia’s middle class, who spoke to The Voice, on strict condition of anonymity.

In interviews with close to 10 Gambians, hitherto considered economically and financially stable, this medium made the staggering discovery that many of them were worried about their economic health as a result of the prevailing economic hardship that the country found itself in.

Currently, some of the Gambia’s most generous philanthropists are not also giving out charity as they used to and some observers said, this may have something to do with their “ailing” economic health.   

In a rare admission of fear over their own economic and financial health, some of Gambia’s middle class said things are no longer the same.

“I am an importer but things are no longer working for me, financially. The amount of cash that I spend on ordering goods cannot be compensated by the profit I make. This is threatening to bankrupt me and that would be suicidal,” a once-successful businessman explained to this reporter.

“There is no money in this country now. I am really worried because I don’t really know what is happening,” said another middle class.

“Many of my friends have been complaining about the same thing over the past weeks. I know there is cash in the country but it’s becoming tough to make money nowadays,” our interlocutor added.

Another middle class, who spoke to this paper, said: “Money is not flowing as it used to. Is it that all valves have been closed by the President’s declaration of war on corruption? If the trend continues, most of us will be swept to the poverty line.”

Meanwhile, experts fear the current economic hardship will cascade to many strata of the Gambian society as locally generated government revenue is being used for infrastructural development.

“The domestic revenue should be injected into the economy rather than invested in prestige projects such as roads and bridges. Official corruption must also be curtailed if we want to see the economy come alive again,” an economist, who works for the government, suggested.    

Despite the budget support from donor partners to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, the recovery of Gambia’s economy has yet to be felt by thousands of poor Gambians.

The Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG) has predicted that the economic growth would be slower than expected for the second quarter of this year. The CBG said though that growth will peak in the subsequent months.