IMF Advances Support for Economic Recovery to Vulnerable Gambian Population
Resident Rep’s Office Donates to SevenLocalGroups
Written By Sainey MK Marenah, IMF 2018 Journalism Fellow
Nearly a year into the global pandemic, individuals, communities and organizations are still reeling from the devastating impact of the coronavirus, which stalled economic growth and the attainment of sustainable development goals. The impact of the pandemic, as reiterated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) ManagingDirector, Kristalina Georgieva, “has made inequality even worse because of its disproportionate impact on low-skilled workers, women, and young people”, and in low-income countries, “the shocks are so profound that we face the risk of a lost generation”.
It was within this context, and in order to support the most vulnerable groups, the office of the IMF Resident Representative in The Gambia, recently extended direct provision to seven women, youth and differently-abled based nonprofit organizations within the Greater Banjul Area and the West Coast Region. The beneficiary organizations identified in collaboration with UN agencies working directly with the local communities are: the Gambia Women Chamber of Commerce (GWCC), the Network against Gender Based Violence (NGBV), the Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (Gamcotrap), theParadise Foundation, the Kafuta Community Library, the National Youth Council and the Gambian Federation of the Disabled.
The beneficiaries, who were given office furniture and other equipment, described the donation as timely, adding that it will go a long way in helping their respective organizations effectivelyexecuting their duties and assisting communities and demographics adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. They commended the IMF Banjul Office through its Resident Representative, Mr. Mamadou Barry, for the great foresight and support to organizations involved in community development.
Meanwhile, in a bid to mitigate the impact of the crisis on The Gambian economy, the IMF earlier extended GMD1 billion (US$ 21.3 million) Covid-19 emergency support to the country at the onset of the pandemic, in mid-April. This was accompanied by a GMD 148.3 million(US$2.9 million)debt service relief under the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust, for the six-months ending October 2020. The debt service relief was extended to about the same amount (US$3 million) for the subsequent six-months.
Furthermore, on March 23, 2020, IMF had approved a US$ 41.7 million 39-month program for The Gambia supported by the Extended Credit Facility (ECF). The ECF-supported program aims to anchor macroeconomic stability and progress on structural reforms and catalyze much needed donor financing, particularly in the form of grants for budget support. This is with a view to maintain the momentum in reducing debt vulnerabilities and deliver on key commitments in the National Development Plan 2018–2021, with a focus on inclusive growth and poverty reduction.
The Fund also, recently, delivered a series of technical assistance programs for The Gambia covering areas such as tax revenue administration, financial sector stability review, project appraisal and selection, tax expenditure policy reforms, risk-based financial supervision, debt &public investment management, national accounts and price statistics, cash management as well as the establishment of a treasury single account.