At the request of the government, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by Olivier Basdevant has conducted a diagnostic of governance and corruption vulnerabilities in The Gambia.
A statement made available on Friday stated that the diagnostic provides an opportunity to carry out a detailed assessment of the severity of corruption, assess governance weaknesses in key state functions, and to propose options to address those vulnerabilities.
Mr. Basdevant said: “The mission commended the authorities for the progress achieved so far, notably by bringing various legislations in line with best practices.
“At the end of the mission, the following preliminary observations were shared. These observations will be refined in the coming weeks as the governance diattgnostic report for The Gambia is finalized.”
Since 2017, The Gambia has been engaged in governance reforms, with new laws (2018 Central Bank Act, the access to information law 2021, public procurement act 2022, and bills on anti-corruption, anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism, public finances, state-owned enterprises, and banking).
Others ae modernizing processes, in part through digitalization and automation (the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA), rolling out the Automated System for Customs Data, ASYCUDA World, and the ongoing efforts to develop an e-procurement platform; and bringing banking sector regulatory and supervisory framework closer to international standards.
However, he said challenges remained which would require continued efforts to improve governance and reduce corruption vulnerabilities.
“Public processes appear vulnerable to corruption and uneven decisions owing to limited digitalization and undefined conditions for applying discretionary powers.
This issue was observed in various areas, including procurement, staff recruitment, and enforcement of contractual and property rights.
Official records are often paper-based, and both access and reliability appear to be challenging. Further, official public websites and e-platforms where they exist are not always up-to-date.
“Administrative capacity is limited, thus hampering the delivery of timely and quality public services. Existing resources could be focused on the highest risks; and the mission welcomes the authorities’ intention to continue strengthening their capacity.
“The mission commends the authorities for their anti-corruption efforts, notably with a bill broadly aligned with best practices, even though some provisions could be improved (independence of the anti-corruption commission, and effective enforcement).
The mission encouraged the authorities’ efforts in bringing their anti-corruption framework in line with best practices, including their asset declaration and conflicts regime.
“The mission welcomes the authorities’ intention to address the deficiencies of AML/CFT frameworks identified in the 2021 Mutual Evaluation Report of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA),” he pointed out.
“The Central Bank of The Gambia is encouraged to continue their efforts to further strengthen oversight and internal governance arrangements, including for banking supervision.
“Looking forward, the IMF stands ready to support the authorities in their governance reform agenda, though continued capacity development, and encourage the authorities to develop a comprehensive national strategy for good governance, which could be informed by our forthcoming report and supported by The Gambia development partners.”
The IMF team thanked The Gambian authorities and other counterparts for their hospitality, excellent cooperation, as well as candid and constructive discussions.
The mission met Mr. Seedy Keita, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Mr. Dawda Jallow, Minister of Justice, and Mr. Buah Saidy, Governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia, as well as other senior officials, and representatives of the private sector, civil society and international development partners.