Journal Issue

The Gambia

International Monetary Fund
Published Date:
January 2011
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1. Introduction and Background

1. Introduction

1.1. Poverty in the Gambia

The Poverty profile of the Gambia indicates that poverty over the years is still prevalent across regions in the Country. However, there has been a shift in the incidence of extreme poverty across administrative regions. Based on the National Household Poverty Survey 2003, estimated head count ratio for poverty is 59%.1 between 2003 and 2008 Poverty has only dropped 3% far below the annual target of 2% as set out in the PRSP II. In fact poverty headcount increased from 59% in 2003 to 61% in 2005.2 The shift in the incidence of poverty indicate a policy gap and since poverty varies greatly along multiple dimensions, urgent action for its alleviation should take the form of a multi-sectoral approach which requires broad-based policies and investment coupled with instruments of social protection and safety nets.3

Considering poverty reduction as a key development objective, the GOTG aims at addressing poverty concerns through specific intervention in the form of strategic papers as far back in 1994. In 1994, the GOTG developed a five years poverty reduction strategic paper known as SPA 1. In 2003, another strategy paper was developed called the PRSP1 this was implemented from 2003 to 2005; however, implementation of PRSP1 was rated as unsatisfactory.

This lead to the development of a five year development plan and strategic paper called PRSP II to be implemented from 2007 to 2011 which is what is currently being reviewed.

The PRSP 1 had experienced some setbacks during its implementation. These setback left challenges to be accomplished, constraints to be conquered and gaps to be bridged.3 In response to the existing needs of achieving vision 2020 and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of reducing poverty globally, there was the need to formulate revised strategies in reducing poverty in the Gambia as a result, the government of the Gambia formulated the PRSP II in order to bridge the gaps of PRSP I. 4

. The MDG-based PRSP 11 which serves as the medium term planning framework for reducing poverty in the country was formulated in 2006 and is in the process of being implemented.

PRSP II Aims to Address the Following Five Priorities:

  • Creating an enabling policy environment for rapid economic growth and poverty reduction

  • Enhancing the capacity and output of productive sector

  • Improve coverage of basic social services and social protection needs of the poor and vulnerable

  • Enhance governance systems and build the capacity of local communities and Civil Society Organizations(CSOs) to play an active role in Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction

  • Mainstreaming cross-cutting issues that also contribute to poverty

This review is divided into three parts. Part 1 looks at the background/introduction, context of the study and methodology of the review as well as the overall assessment of progress, emerging issues, gaps and policy recommendations. Part II presents the findings of the review by pillar and Part III is the matrixes of progress.


A set of priority action plans and programmes that reflect the five priorities is being implemented. Poverty being a national priority makes the implementation of the poverty reduction strategy the responsibility of all stakeholders be it government, private sector, civil society and the poor themselves. Both the funding, implementation and monitoring is also a shared responsibility with government and its development partners.

To date two annual (2007 & 2008) progress reports have been produced which show mixed results, the need for consolidation and expansion of achievements, a requirement for a complete overhaul of weak areas and above all the inclusion of new areas. The integration of the changing environment was also deemed it necessary to include a macroeconomic framework.


Now that the country is mid-way in implementing the PRSP, it is crucial to undertake a critical review of the document with a view to updating its contents in order to achieve better results for the Poverty reduction programme by the end of 2011.

The main objectives of the review include:

  • Reviewing and updating the PRSP with current poverty/policies, intervention and changing environment.

  • Identifying the achievements, short comings, constraints, challenges, opportunities and provide recommendations for the way forward which will be use as an addendum to the existing PRSP to guide implementation and monitoring for the remaining period.

The review looked at the implementation of the PRSP from October 2007 to date, its achievements and challenges, and proposed recommendations for its completion.

The review looks at the design, the implementation and the delivery of the program to the partners and beneficiaries at national and decentralised levels--it would also highlight outcomes/impacts registered and challenges/constraints faced in the implementation of project.

In undertaking the exercise, the consultants adopted the following approach that addressed the key issues of the review:

  • Reviewed the PRSP in terms of achievements, gaps and constraints

  • Reviewed the national implementation of the MDG-based PRSP

  • Assessed the response of the key stakeholders’ e.g. public sectors, NGOs, private sector, development partners etc.

  • Identified gaps including sectoral policies and strategies, challenges, weaknesses, constraints and propose possible remedial measures

  • Identified opportunities and high impact areas of intervention

  • Assessed the sustainability and possible expansion of gains achieved in the implementation of the PRSP so far.

  • Reviewed the institutional or organizational arrangements for the implementation, coordination and monitoring and make recommendations.

Based on this detailed analysis outlined above the consultants provide specific recommendations regarding the way forward in terms of priorities and operational modalities of the program. This is the only way that the long term sustainability of the program can be guaranteed.

1.2.1. Approach

  • Literature Review of the PRSP II, Annual Progress reports of the PRSP, Final Report of Phase 1 of the program and other relevant documents are reviewed for identification of the gaps, especially performance gaps as it is important for information gathering in this study.

  • Key partner and key informant interviews are a major part of the methodology which is detailed below.

  • The Analysis and the final product consisted of the following steps:

  • ▪ Analysis of PRSP II interventions, the strengths and the opportunities and the challenges faced both by NPC and its partners

  • ▪ The changing macroeconomic environment

  • ▪ Qualitative analysis of data

1.3. Methodology

1.3.1 Data collection methodology

Data collection methods applied to the study entailed a literature review of key documents. This included studies and progress reports of the PRSP II and other existing data on poverty and other related processes vis-à-vis the poverty dimensions of such processes. This stretched over a period of weeks. Based on the desk study results, information gaps in connection to the study were identified and this was used as basis for the collection of primary data in the field to supplement/complement whatever information was collected.

1.3.2 Individual questionnaire

The field data collection included key informant interviews through the administration of an outputs questionnaire with mostly government institutions. In a similar vein, key informant interviews were carried out with key officials of partner agencies involved (Finance, Education, Health, Local Government etc.) in an effort to gather their perspectives about PRSP II implementation. Another checklist/interview guide was developed specifically for this category of people involved in the study.

1.3.3 Focused Group Discussions (discussion guide/checklist).

Focused Group Discussions (FGDs) were carried out with the select ministries and institutions, Finance, Trade, National and Water Resources with a view to capturing their views, perceptions and new ideas regarding programme quality, performance and future direction. This was used to complement information derived from the literature review, individual interviews and key partner interviews.

The data collection methods specified above enhanced a critical/effective review, reflection and analysis of the program in totality and thus enabled the consultants arrive at objective and concrete findings, conclusions and recommendations for use by NPC and her partners.

1.3.4 Limits and Constraints.

A major constraint was getting people to provide detailed information and document on activities, projects and programmes related to the PRSP. This in turn has created information gaps and the review had to rely heavily on desk reviews.

Despite these constraints the review was to present a fair and detailed report on the progress of PRSP II implement.


1.4.1 Highlights of Progress and Gaps

The PRSP II desk review revealed that there has been significant progress in all five pillars of the PRSP. The macro-economic situation is stable; the productive sectors are being enhanced through laws, policies and investment for better output; the social sectors, health and education are receiving more of government resources especially in the national budget at an average of 18%; enhancing governance systems and building capacity at local levels of communities and civil society organizations has registered less successes, due to the delay in the decentralization process; the cross-cutting issues of gender, environment, population, youth and nutrition has been taken care of in the first four pillars and successes were registered. The review also identified gaps and emerging issues to map the way forward. Some of the main findings are summarized below.

Pillar 1: Creating an enabling policy environment for rapid economic growth and poverty reduction

This pillar registered some of the most outstanding success. The findings of the pillar are as follows:

  • The Gambia has been able to maintain sustained macroeconomic stability from 2003-2008. This sustained effort is an indication of government’s commitment to provide the foundations for economic growth and poverty reduction.

  • The rate of economic growth continue to be above the PSRP target of 4.5% with actual growth rates of 6.3% and 6.1% for the years 2007 and 2008 respectively.

  • The Agricultural sector performed significantly better in 2008 than 2007 mainly due to the good rains experienced in 2008.

  • In addition, during this period, the inflation target of 5% has been achieved from 5.4% in 2007 to 4.5% in 2008.

  • Furthermore, the reduction of the domestic debt to GDP ratio has been a key objective in the PRGF agreement with IMF. This target has been met consistently over the years with declines in outturns from 28.1% in 2007 to 25.1% in 2008, compared to targets of 28.5% and 26.5% respectively.

  • The overall expenditure on poverty programmes and activities in 2007 reached D1.067 billion, representing a disbursement rate of 92.2%. This is a significant achievement given the fact that it indicates a high rate of the sectors’ absorptive capacity or ability to spend its allocated resources to the poverty programmes and activities

  • On financial governance and management, in January 2007, the Government launched and operationalised the Integrated Financial Management Information System and government financial transactions are processed, recorded and monitored. The IFMIS has helped to achieve the following objectives:

    – increase the ability to undertake control and monitoring of expenditure and receipts in government departments

    – Increase the ability to access information on financial and operational performance

    – Increase the ability to access information on government cash position

    – Increase the ability to access information on economic performance

    – Increase the ability to demonstrate accountability to donors

    – Increase accountability and transparency in the use of public funds

  • The National Planning Commission (NPC) was set also up in 2008 to specifically coordinate the planning and implementation of PRSP II. The NPC coordinates programmes and activities as well as monitor the progress of implementing PRSP II reforms, monitoring of the program delivery process and most importantly, to undertake poverty policy analysis and monitoring of poverty reduction targets.

  • Government enacted a Central Statistics Bill in December 2005 which saw the transformation of the then Central Statistics Department into a semi autonomous Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBOS) and a statistics council. The enactment of the Bill was preceded by the development and completion of the “Central Statistics Master Plan”, and Communication and Dissemination Policy.

  • The major reform in the administration of tax revenue has been the establishment of the Gambia Revenue Authority by an Act of the National Assembly in August 2004. The Act essentially transferred the task of tax revenue management from the mainstream civil service to an independent National Revenue Authority. This included subsuming the functions of the former Central Revenue and the Custom and Excise Departments into one semi-autonomous institution. The reforms also included the amendment of the Income and Sales Tax Law to reflect the new changes in the administration of tax revenue.

  • The Revenue Authority commenced business in January 2007 and has so far registered considerable success in enhancing revenue collections. The revenue collections were so impressive in 2007 that it enabled government to generate fiscal surplus for the first time in many years as domestic tax revenue was over 20% of GDP.

    A new public procurement law was enacted in 2001 and implementation started in 2003. This legislative framework and the new procurement code, seeks to improve public procurement, which was handled by centralized tender boards under MOFEA. Public procurement is now decentralized to the level of the spending agencies which through contract committees procure goods and services in an open and competitive process according to new procurement guidelines.

    • The new procurement Law also saw the creation of the Gambia Public Procurement Agency (GPPA), which was given the responsibility of supervising and facilitating the new procurement procedures. In addition, GPPA also carries out a final review of procurements over a pre-set threshold. Procurement and disposal by all central government agencies, local government units, and public enterprises are covered by the new law.

    • Under the leadership of GPPA, The Gambia has made slow but steady progress towards a more transparent and more efficient procurement system.

    • A Public Financial Management Coordination Committee (PFMCC) is in place and mandated to provide a framework for improved awareness, coordination, harmonization, and monitoring of government activities pertaining to public financial management within the context of the PRSC The committee is currently answerable to the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs and has held two quarterly meetings since its inception in March 2009.

    • The National Audit Office has made tremendous achievements from 2007 to date. The accounts for 1991 to 2004 have been audited and submitted to the National Assembly. The accounts for 2005 and 2006 were submitted in March of 2009 to the National Assembly whilst the 2007 accounts are currently being audited. Furthermore, the role of the National Assembly in the context of PFM is to ensure that rules are enforced in the management of public resources and there is value for money in the use of public funds.

    • The civil service reform is also ongoing with proposals to increase payroll, improve policy planning and management and institutionalize performance reward system. These reforms will be implemented in parallel with the pension’s reforms. These measures are critical to addressing poverty since the local communities use public service to a large extent.

Challenges and Gaps

  • To reduce poverty through substantial government interventions, there is need for greater fiscal space in order to support existing and proposed pro-poor policies and programs. However, government’s external and domestic debt vulnerability remains a major challenge. The external debt to exports ratio is above the recommended threshold. The current debt to GDP ratio continues to decline but the stock of domestic debt is steadily increasing hence raising the cost of debt and reducing the fiscal space necessary for spending on social and investment programs.

  • To successfully implement PRSP programs, it was anticipated that there will be substantial amount of HIPC resources available to fund the poverty reduction programs and activities. The actual inflows from HIPC resources fall short of the anticipated amount in 2008 and there are expectations that the amount pledged by donors to finance PRSP II for the successive years may not be fully realised.

  • The allocation of more resources to discretionary programs remains a major challenge in the drive to reduce poverty. Discretionary allocations have been receiving more resources for a sustained number of years at the expense of poverty programs. Therefore, there is need to reverse the trend and prioritise more resources towards poverty spending.

  • The allocation of 25% of domestically generated resources to the priority sectors of Agriculture, Education, Health and Nutrition continues to fall short of the PRSP target for a number of years. The performance against this benchmark remains erratic and may continue to be the pattern unless the required amount of resources are provided and sustained throughout the PRSP period.

  • In addition, the total cost of implementing the PRSP II activities is $752 million of which government will contribute $100.5 million and donor commitment of $174 million, leaving a funding gap of $479.9 million. This gap will be further reduced to $320 million, when the HIPC and MDRI resources become available. The resulting financing gap is equivalent to a funding need of $64 million per year over the PRSP II period.

Pillar 2: Enhancing the capacity and output of productive sector

This pillar is the engine of growth of growth for the Gambia and covers all the productive sectors of the Economy; however, due to its diverse and broad-based nature its achievement levels are not as clear cut as in the macroeconomic sector. The main findings in respect to this pillar are as follow:

  • The agricultural sector performed reasonably well during the 2007/2008 cropping season, with increase in area for most of the crops. Gains were achieved in cultivated area, with reduction in both yield and production.

  • The total cultivated area for cereals increased from182, 637 ha in 2006/2007 to 186,182 ha in 2007/2008, representing 2 percent increase. Production on the other hand reduced from 183,405 Mt in 2006/2007 to 149,942 Mt 2007/2008. However, the cultivated area is projected to increase to 223,003 ha (19.8 percent) in 2008/2009 and production to 210,000 Mt (i.e.40 percent).

  • Rice shows a 9 percent increase in area under production from 15,199 ha in 2006/2007 to 16,588 ha in 2007/2008 and is projected to increase to 20,442 ha in 2008/2009, while production decreased from 15,832 Mt increases to 11,395 metric tonnes (28%). This is projected to increase to 18,012 metric tonnes (58%) in 2008/2009.

  • Groundnut, the main cash crop has also registered 7 percent increase in area from 110, 383 ha in 2006/2007 to 117,590ha in 2007/2008, and production had 11 percent reduction from 81,775 Mt to 72,558 Mt in 2007/2008. This is also projected to increase to 105,000 metric tonnes, i.e. 45% increase.

  • The livestock sub-sector has registered a significant progress due to increase in investment in the sub-sector. We have a hatchery in the country with capacity to produce 20,000 chicks per month and have potential to increase production up to 200,000 per month. The hatchery is currently in operation.

  • The Sustainable Management of Endemic Ruminants’ Species project launched by the International Trypanosomaises Centre (ITC) under the auspices of the GEF (Global Environment Facility) has increase prospects in small ruminant population in the country.

  • 66 VISACAS were established by the Rural Finance Project to enable farmers’ access to rural micro-finance institutions.

  • The sector registered nine projects in total during the review period and they are namely: Participatory Integrated Water Shed Management Project (PIWAMP); Farmer Management Rice Irrigation Project (FMRIP); Participatory Integrated Management of Invasive Aquatic Weed Project (PIMIAWP); Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS); Irrigated Rice Development Project (IRRIDEP); The Africa Emergency Locust Project (AELP); The Rural Finance Project (RFP); Gambia Low Land Development Project (GALDEP).

  • All the above projects have begun implementing policy objectives to improve the agricultural sector, and work towards reducing poverty.

  • The restructuring of the Department of State for Agriculture’s technical departments has already begun. With the establishment of six (6) regional directorates, a central project coordinating unit and nine (9) specialized technical services will go a long way in bringing changes to the regions by ensuring timely provision of key inputs and advice; and, bringing specialists, equipped with all necessary resources and materials closer to the farmer.

  • With the assistance from ECOWAS Commission and AU Commission with their development partners under the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme, the sector was able to formulate a comprehensive national agricultural investment programme to guide donor intervention in the sector as well as encourage private sector involvement in the sector. The implementation of this programme would enhance agricultural productivity and output and contribute to reducing poverty.

  • The Fisheries Department continues to undertake activities aimed at poverty reduction in fisheries communities and enhance the sectors contribution to GDP. This is done through identification, planning and implementation of development programmes and projects of national origin, bilateral and regional cooperation programmes and through GLF.

  • Formulation of Fisheries Act 2007 which seek to improve the management and protection of our resources.

  • Fisheries regulations was also completed and signed in July 2008.

  • A new Fisheries Policy was formulated with the assistance of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 2008.

  • The fishermen training programme that started in Tanji in March 2008 with 25 Youths for a period of 18 months has been completed. The youths who were trained in various fishing techniques were provided with fishing materials at end of the training in 2009.

  • The construction of the Government of Japan funded multipurpose fish market at Brikama as well as a works contract for the construction of a fisheries jetty at Wharf Njago, Bond road in addition the provision of bunkering facilities at the fisheries jetty site.

  • The provision of soft loans to fisheries operators under the GAFDP Revolving loan scheme.

  • Different projects and programmes are being implemented such as: the implementation of the FAO sustainable aquaculture project; nationwide sensitization on the Fisheries Act 2007 and Fisheries Regulations 2008; start of the World Bank fisheries project preparatory phase; establishment of co-management committees in strategic fisheries centres; capacity building in fisheries conservation and protection.

  • The Fisheries Department in collaboration with the Tawainese Technical Team is carrying out acquaculture research in Jahali rice field on 1.2 ha comprising 14 fish ponds. The Department is also working with the Special Programme for Food Security in assisting communities in the construction of five fish ponds at Salikene. There are also fish ponds in Medina Kanuma and Ndenban and the Fisheries Department is giving technical advice to the owners and also monitoring their activities.

  • In 2008 an amount of D2, 617,040 were disbursed as credit to fisheries operators either as individuals or to associations for disbursement to their members. The funds are managed by SDF and funds disbursed through microfinance institutions. Fisheries operators in the following villages benefited from the credit programme in 2008: Sankwia, Kayaf, Geneire, Jassoba, massembe and Barro Kunda in Foni Kansala. In these villages 224 benefited from the credit with 141 females and 83 male.

  • Formulation of Fisheries Act 2007 which seek to improve the management and protection of our resources.

  • Fisheries regulations was also completed and signed in July 2008

  • A new Fisheries Policy was formulated with the assistance of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 2008.

  • The fishermen training programme that started in Tanji in March 2008 with 25 Youths for a period of 18 months has been completed. The youths who were trained in various fishing techniques were provided with fishing materials at end of the training in 2009.

  • The construction of the Government of Japan funded multipurpose fish market at Brikama.

  • Conclusion of works contract for the construction of a fisheries jetty at Wharf Njago, Bond road

  • Awarding of contract for the provision of bunkering facilities at the fisheries jetty site

  • The provision of soft loans to fisheries operators under the GAFDP Revolving loan scheme

  • Implementation of the FAO sustainable aquaculture project

  • Nationwide sensitization on the Fisheries Act 2007 and Fisheries Regulations 2008

  • Start of the World Bank fisheries project preparatory phase

  • Establishment of co-management committees in strategic fisheries centres

  • Build capacities in fisheries conservation and protection

  • The Fisheries Department in collaboration with the Tawainese Technical Team is carrying out acquaculture research in Jahali rice field on 1.2 ha comprising 14 fish ponds. The Department is also working with the Special Programme for Food Security in assisting communities in the construction of five fish ponds at Salikene. There are also fish ponds in Medina Kanuma and Ndenban and the Fisheries Department is giving technical advice to the owners and also monitoring their activities.

  • In 2008 an amount of D2, 617,040 were disbursed as credit to fisheries operators either as individuals or to associations for disbursement to their members. The funds are managed by SDF and funds disbursed through microfinanceinstitutions. Fisheries operators in the following villages benefited from the credit programme in 2008: Sankwia, Kayaf, Geneire, Jassoba, massembe and Barro Kunda in Foni Kansala. In these villages 224 benefited from the credit with 141 females and 83 male.

  • There has been an improvement in the total number of tourist arrivals from 124,800 in 2006 to 142,626 in 2007, which has increased to 146,759 in 2008.

  • In terms of promotion, Government has undertaken phase II of the international advertisements on CNN with a great success, and has also embarked on promoting regional tourism which has seen the rise in regional flights into The Gambia.

  • Government recognizes that quality service delivery enhances sustainable tourism development, and is, therefore, considering series of tailor-made training packages for the Hospitality Sector in such areas as Guest Relations and Customer Care, Quality Management, as well as product development for both the formal and informal sectors of the tourism industry.

  • Government is also in the process of finalizing the integration of tourism into the school curriculum, and it is hoped this development will help prepare our youth for productive participation in tourism.

  • With regards to standards and quality control, Government has strengthened the Inspectorate Unit of the Gambian Tourism Authority has been strengthened to inspect and monitor facilities on the Tourism Development Area and a comprehensive check-list of best practice standards has been developed by a Licensing Committee to monitor compliance level of all tourism enterprises. Government is also now poised to introduce and implement the first-ever hotel classification system in The Gambia.

  • Major infrastructural and product development were implemented in and around the Tourism Development Area. These include a dream park located close to the Kotu Stream, and phase II of the Street Lightening Project utilizing solar panels. Community-based pro-poor tourism projects are also underway in Kartong, Juffureh, and Albreda. In terms of human development and empowerment, these pro-poor tourism projects have now become a model for the whole of West Africa (WTO ST-EP) in terms of sustainability and community involvement.

  • Due to the current economic environment, The Gambia has now become a favourite place for tourism investments. Approval has been granted, and initial works in progress, for the construction of Four 5 star hotels in addition to the 5 Star Meridian Hotels under construction in Brufut. Substantial employment will be created in these facilities, and the product range will be diversified, and high quality clientele will also be attracted.

  • In 2008, the 9th Edition of the Roots Home Coming Festival was successfully celebrated, and this attracted the participation of Africans in the Diaspora and peoples of African descent everywhere. Government has now allocated land for the construction of a National Theatre Complex, and in 2009 resources will be mobilized for the construction of the facility.

  • To further enhance market distribution, the GTA London office was restructured towards the end of 2008 and this revitalized office will operate a vertical marketing framework with London as the hub to enhance representation and monitoring in major source markets of Western Europe, the Nordic countries as well as Eastern Europe. A Public Relations /Marketing Firm (Eyes2Market) has also been hired to revitalize the Gambia’s present in the German market.

  • The Gambia hosted the first ever Sub-regional Tourism and Travel Fair “MBOKA”, which attracted participants from tourism stakeholders in the West Africa sub-region and beyond.

  • Economic Partnership Agreement-The on-going negotiation of the Economic Partnership Agreement at the level of ECOWAS Commission could not be concluded in June 30, 2009 as reported in the last budget speech. This is because the two regions (ECOWAS and EC) could not finalise negotiations on substantive issues of development such as EPA Development Programme, Sensitive Products and Rules of Origin among others, and these issues remain a priority for the ECOWAS region.

  • Competition Commission- In a liberal economic competition policy and law is required to strengthen the efficiency of the market by providing economic agents, both small and larger equal opportunity to participate in the economy. In view of this, the Government of The Gambia enacted a competition law in 2007, and in October 2008 The Gambia’s Competition Commission was established following the appointment of four commissioners and the subsequent appointment of the Executive Secretary in January 2009. In August 2009 the Commission had inaugurated its new office in Kotu. The Competition Commission will work closely with other regulators including the Central Bank of The Gambia and the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA).

  • Trade policy- The Ministry is currently working with the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI) on a formulation of a national trade policy. Two months ago a draft policy document was submitted to the Ministry for review and comments by WAMI, which was reviewed and comments forwarded for adjustment. With the progress made so far, it is hopeful that before the end of the year the policy would be ready for validation.

  • Trade Policy Review- the Ministry in collaboration with the World Trade Organization (WTO) is embarking on a second trade policy review exercise. The exercise is expected to be completed in July 2010.

  • Common External Tariff (CET) - Negotiations on CET could not be concluded in July 31st as scheduled due to the inclusion of the 5th band in the negotiation. Following the endorsement of the 5th Band at 35 percent rate by the Authority of the Heads of State and government in December 2008, the negotiation began on the 5th Band in February 2009.

  • Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Policy (MSME)-The process of formulating the national MSME policy have now been completed and the policy is at the level of the Cabinet. The Ministry is currently working on the institutional arrangement for the implementation of the policy. The institutional structure has already been finalised and the ministry is working on the legal framework. The structure has four departments such as Corporate Services, Investment Promotion, Business and Export Development, and Enterprise Support and Innovation Departments. This new structure has combined the functions of Investment Promotion, Export and Enterprise Development under one institution because they are interrelated functions and they need to reinforce and complement each other.

  • Industrial competitiveness component-In the context of the government’s liberalization efforts and focus on high-tech industries, the overall development objective of this project is to boost exports and industrial growth of sectors that can help alleviate poverty through employment generation and income distribution. The government’s revision of current strategies towards trade and industry calls for a greater understanding by the public and private sector of the country’s industrial and trade performance and how to reconcile it with social goals. Thus the immediate objective of the project is to build the institutional capacity in the private and public sector to analyze industrial and trade competitiveness as input into the formulation of policies.

  • Investment component- There are number of obstacles to investment flows in Gambia, such as lack of information on investment opportunities, potential suppliers, upgrading options and supply chain integration opportunities, etc. The aim of the programme is to provide economic and financial information for decision-making and investment promotion that enterprises and investors, policy makers and donors require. The project seeks to address these information failures in the form of Investment Survey Reports and the establishment of an Investment Monitoring Platform and Capacity building of targeted institutions.

  • Rural and Renewable Energy component (ECOWAS, GEF Programme) -The energy sector in the Gambia is characterised by very low levels of access to modern energy services, high dependence on traditional biomass energy forms with their concomitant environmental challenges and an absence of energy market. Although a lot of developments have been made by Government (for instance, special attention to renewable energy through policies and institutional measures), some institutions such as GREC lacks the capacity to provide services to support the development of renewable energy technologies in the Gambia. The project is therefore designed to offer a systematic approach to removing these and associated market barriers to investments and technical obstacles in renewable energy based on mini-grids in rural areas of the Gambia.

  • Trade Capacity Building component through the implementation of national components of the ongoing ECOWAS Quality Programme and the upcoming ECOWAS enterprise upgrading and restructuration Programme: Despite its great export potentials, Gambia faces a number of obstacles related to its regional and international trade capacities. The aim of the project is to improve and increase participation of The Gambia in regional and international trade through the establishment of a national system for accreditation and certification, by strengthening standards bodies and harmonisation of standards promotion of quality and consumer protection.

  • Gambia Investment Promotion and Free Zones Agency- The Gateway Project, which was supporting the operations of GIPFZA, is ending on 31st December 2009 after being extended for two years from 2007. During the life (2001-2008) of this project GIPFZA was able to help to set up 59 companies in various sectors of the economy with total investment level of over US$215 million and created over 4600 direct jobs.

  • Employment Issues- GAMJOBS has recently engaged consultants to review and update the National Employment Policy and Action Plan. The consultancy report has been validated In addition, consultants were also recruited to carry out the capacity needs assessment of both the Employment Unit and Labour Department with a view to strengthening the capacities of the two institutions. Finally, the Ministry sought and obtained assistance from International Labour Organization (ILO) in the area of ILO reporting. ILO field in a technical expert to train policy makers, trade unions and private sector in ILO report. At the end of the training a tripartite steering committee was constituted to assist the Ministry in ILO reporting.

  • There has been an increased in the generation capacity of the Kotu Power Station during the period under review.

  • The first phase of the Rural Electrification Project was commissioned at various locations in the country with a total generating capacity of 4MW.

  • Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is being promoted as an alternative to firewood for cooking. The government is also promoting the use of renewable energy and has lifted import tax on all forms of renewable energy and energy efficiency equipment in March 2009. Although limited, this has encouraged the use of renewable energy.

  • The Gambia Renewable Energy Centre (GREC) has been revitalised to promote and adopt renewable technologies, and also advise government on renewable energy matters.

  • Renewable Energy Association of the Gambia (REGAM) was formed in April 2008 for promotion, development, sustainability, protection, standardization and uplifting of the sub-sector in The Gambia.

  • Government conducted a renewable energy feasibility study in 2007, which shows greater potential in solar energy than wind energy. There exist a number of private suppliers of solar and wind energy in the country.

  • In 2008 a license was issued to Batakuku Village for the generation and supply of electricity through the use of windmill with a generating capacity of 150KW

  • More than twenty bio-gas plants have been constructed throughout the country under the Periurban project as an alternative source of energy.

  • Jatropha is currently being used as bio-fuel by a limited number of the population.

  • A 51 metric tonnes of storage facility for all petroleum products including LPG and Heavy Fuel Oil was inaugurated in 2008 and it has a six month interrupted supply capacity.

  • The Petroleum Products Bill has been finalised

  • Mandinaba –Soma Road Project is progressing well, 90% of the Western Region Feeder Roads project is completed and the North Bank Region Road Project is completed. The Soma-Basse Road is even progressing faster than Mandinaba-Soma road.

  • The acquisition of the Half-Die properties has been finalized by the Gambia Ports Authority at a cost of D70 million.

  • Fourth Port expansion Project has been designed for which funding is presently being pursued.

  • The Detailed Engineering and Economic Studies of the Port Master Plan and the Port Efficiency project have been finalised.

  • Coastal tariff have been revised a number of times to encourage coastal shipping.

  • Construction of the Barra ferry terminal and the ramps and berthing were completed. There are fiscal incentives attached to investment in river transportation.

  • Government has set up the Gambia Maritime Administration to ensure full compliance with all national regulations and international conventions on the maritime industry.

  • Telecommunication sector has liberalised since 2000 which has the participation of the private sector in the industry.

  • All telecommunications Service Providers have signed interconnection agreements with each other facilitated by PURA which has markedly improved interconnectivity.

  • The implementation of the recommendations of the Technical Audit Report has resolved the problems identified in the report and brought better connectivity.

  • Mandinaba –Soma Road Project is progressing well, 90% of the Western Region Feeder Roads project is completed and the North Bank Region Road Project is completed. The Soma-Basse Road is even progressing faster than Mandinaba-Soma road.

  • The acquisition of the Half-Die properties has been finalized by the Gambia Ports Authority at a cost of D70 million.

  • Fourth Port expansion Project has been designed for which funding is presently being pursued.

  • The Detailed Engineering and Economic Studies of the Port Master Plan and the Port Efficiency project have been finalised.

  • Coastal tariff have been revised a number of times to encourage coastal shipping.

  • Construction of the Barra ferry terminal and the ramps and berthing were completed. There are fiscal incentives attached to investment in river transportation.

  • Government has set up the Gambia Maritime Administration to ensure full compliance with all national regulations and international conventions on the maritime industry.

  • Telecommunication sector has liberalised since 2000 which has the participation of the private sector in the industry.

  • All telecommunications Service Providers have signed interconnection agreements with each other facilitated by PURA which has markedly improved interconnectivity.

  • The implementation of the recommendations of the Technical Audit Report has resolved the problems identified in the report and brought better connectivity.

Challenges and GAPS:

  • The Gambia is among the most vulnerable countries to the current global food crisis given that she was a food deficit country before the current food crisis. The country has an annual consumption requirement of 160,000 metric tonnes of rice (staple food) of which only about 7,400 metric tonnes of clean rice is locally produced. This means only 4.6 percent of the annual requirement is produced locally.

  • This is attributed to low production and productivity of key food crops (rice, millet, sorghum and maize) caused by the high dependence on rain-fed agriculture, which is short (3 months), erratic and unpredictable.

  • Between April to September 2008, The Gambia witnessed a steady increase in the price of her stable food (rice) which went up by 40 percent. Cereal consumption has continuously increased from 214,000 metric tonnes in 1997 to 291,000 metric tonnes in 2007. This has created a gap in the availability of cereal.

  • A World Food Programme analysis comparing the trend in net production of cereals with consumption needs indicated this widening cereal gap, which for the last three years, increased from 65,700 metric tonnes to around 150,000 metric tonnes in 2007.

  • The ability of the agricultural sector to address the food needs of the Gambian populace has been affected by structural problems including inappropriate agricultural techniques, lack of production resources, subsistence farming, pests and diseases, high dependence on raid-fed agriculture, and climate change. Unstable management structure due to frequent structural reforms has delayed programme implementation.

  • A host of factors continues to impede on the growth and development of the fisheries sector

  • Physical :- Lack of a fishing port has been one of the perennial constraints to the development and attainment of the full potential of the sub-sector.

  • Technical:- Absence of enough nationals with technical competence to man fishing vessels as skippers and engineer.

  • Financial:- Lack of adequate access to micro-finance facilities for artisanal operators.

  • Social:- Difficulties in recruiting, training and retaining Gambians in artisanal fisheries.

  • Institutional:- Absence of a structure specifically dedicated to the development of inland fisheries and aquaculture.

  • Limited access to concessionary investment finance, foreign dominance, high cost of fuel; paucity of appropriate equipment and machinery; and limited budgetary support.

  • The fishing industrial sector continues to be constrained by limited private sector resulting to excessive dependency on artisanal fisheries sector for supply of raw materials.

  • The fishing sector also affected by excessive standards requirements, which are costly to maintain and thereby limiting the export process fish and fisheries products from the Gambia.

  • Limited air access remains a major problem limiting the exploitation of the tourist industry’s potential. Many more chartered flights are needed to be flying throughout the year as they do in the winter.

  • Energy cost- The cost of electricity to the industry is deemed to be too expensive. The high cost of energy is making the Gambia a high cost destination.

  • Aviation Fuel-The Gambia is one among none in the world that has not revised the rate of fuel since its price at world market level has dropped from $169 to $49. It all adds to the already expensive destination image.

  • Tax-In an industry where competent human resources in key technical areas is limited, the current expatriate tax is deemed to be too high. Further, the numerous taxes and level of taxes are too much for the industry.

  • The cost of excursions by Ground Tour operators are considered too expensive, particularly for repeaters, which is approximately 30% of the total tourist.

  • Marketing Budget- Limited budgetary support has limited the ability of GTA to embark on aggressive marketing.

  • The challenges facing the MOTIE are obtaining baseline data on its quantitative variables. It is impossible to monitor behaviour of variables if you don’t know how they are currently behaving. The Ministry would therefore need assistance to identify adequate variables and the baseline data on the variables to assist in their monitoring. Currently, the quantitative variables provided in the report are not adequate to adequately assess the performance of the various policy programmes of the Ministry, and also most of them have no baseline and targets. To this end, it is clear that the Ministry urgently needs institutional capacity building.

  • Serious capacity gap exist this Ministry and this has persisted for long.

  • The Ministry is under resourced in terms of funding for programme implementation.

  • The assessment also revealed that the Ministry been operating without outdated policies (such as industrial and investment policies) and some of the unit (trade division) does not even have a policy. The outdated policies are not helpful pursuing the objectives of the PRSP and MDGs because they were formulated at the time when PRSP and MDGs were not part of our development programme. In addition, lack of a formal national trade policy makes it difficult to integrate trade in PRSP and thus limits its visibility as development strategy for the attainment of the objectives of PRSP II and MDGS.

  • It is only recently that the Ministry has finalised a Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Policy to enhance the development of the sector as vehicle for wealth creation at the national level. The absent of such an important development policy made it difficult to fight income poverty, which up to date remain the most critical poverty mark in our society. There is no doubt that significantly reducing income poverty would improve other poverty indicates.

  • Furthermore, there is serious problem relating employment data/statistics and it usage within the Ministry. Neither the Ministry nor the Labour Department has the capacity to analyse labour data and make an inform policy decision and therefore such vital information are often left out in the national development planning. Consequently, attempts to address unemployment and under employment have been and still being based on guess work and therefore cannot make substantial impact on unemployment and under employment and hence income poverty. Finally, the absent of a functional Standard and Consumer Protection Bureau makes it difficult to develop national standards and also coordinate issues of standards in a coherent manner. This has affected our integration into global trading system.

  • The absence of a functional Standard and Consumer Protection Bureau makes it difficult to develop national standards and also coordinate issues of standards in a coherent manner. This has affected our integration into global trading system. NAWEC’s inability to properly maintain and expand power generation, transmission and distribution which has resulted in electricity supply not been extended to several communities.

  • The promotion of LPG as alternative energy source to firewood is being constrained by its high cost and irregular supply as supply depends on bilateral relationships with Senegal and Mauritania.

  • Promotion of the use of renewable energy is constrained by funding. The renewable energy feasibility study conducted in 2007 recommended a solar energy project for 54 schools, 18 ICT centres, 30 Health Posts and 10,200 Households could not be implemented due to funding problem.

  • The use of Bio-mass as a renewable energy source is limited because of the high cost involves in its construction and therefore is only constructed by projects.

  • Restriction in petroleum business has constrained competition in the petroleum product market at the expense of the consumers.

  • There is still limited private sector involvement in the energy and therefore the investment potential in the sector remains largely untapped.

  • The road constructions often experience delays which affects their timely completion.

  • There is still a limited private sector participation in the Coastal shipping which remains a hindrance in the development of coastal Shipping in The Gambia.

  • Lack of funding is still delaying the implementation of the Ports Master Plan for the modernization of Banjul Ports.

  • The continuous reliance of the ferry services on the Gambia Ports Authority is affecting the efficiency of the authority as it draws its financial resources mainly from the GPA budget.

  • The continued participation of the Government in the telecommunication industry (mobile phone) has affected the efficiency of the industry.

Pillar 3: Improve coverage of basic social services and social protection needs of the poor and vulnerable

The improved coverage of basic social services and social protection for the poor and the vulnerable is critical for the Gambia’s achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). As a result, Pillar 3 of the PRSP II focuses mainly on the delivery of basic social services such as health, education, and other social protection needs of the poor and the vulnerable in areas such as child care, adult care and the disabled. The provision of quality, relevant, affordable and accessible healthcare and education including access to water and sanitation is pertinent to poverty reduction. As a result, the Government of the Gambia consider it necessary to effect a sector-wide approach in the attainment of its development goals by including sector initiated plans and strategies in the PRSP. The results of the sector are summarized below:

  • The MOBSE has placed greater efforts to consolidate on gains to access and improve quality education for all. The Third Education Project has supported the provision of quality pre- in- service training for teachers particularly in provincial schools. The program has led to pedagogue support by establishing cluster level training structures, graduate unqualified teachers to quality teachers, strengthening in-service training, and reforms in pre-service training.

  • The Sector wide approach has been successful in moving the education policy and masterplan for the achievement of the MDGs.

  • The introduction of hardship allowances of 30% of teachers’ basic salary for teachers in region 3 and 4 and 35% for those in region 5 and 6 has attracted more qualified teachers to these schools. Over the years, schools have benefited from the provision of text books for all core subjects for each and every child in the lower basic. This continues to attract and keep children in school.

  • Total Gross Enrolment Rate (GER) has dropped from 77% in 2007 to 74% in 2008 for Formal schools but overall GER (including madrassa) stands at 90% and 93% for these years respectively for the lower basic schools. Comparatively, female gross enrolment is on the increase. Net enrolment for lower basic overall is at 84% and 87% for 2007 and 2008 respectively with female enrolment standing at the high side.

  • Other activities include the preparation and implementation of school improvement activities; development of assessment tools for use both at classroom and system levels; Improvement in performance monitoring feedback and the training of head teachers in management and education leadership; all programs are found to be on track.

  • Adult and Non-formal Education: Relevant programmes have been developed to cater for individual needs and motivations. The Adult and Non formal education unit has been strengthened to coordinate and deliver Adult and Non-formal Education (ANFE). Structures were developed to implement functional literacy with the partnership of NGOs and CBOs.

  • Essential tools were designed to implement literacy programmes by increasing relevance, access and opportunities for illiterate adults in a participatory manner. Quality is also strengthened by monitoring and setting evaluation mechanism to ANFE.

  • Tertiary Education:. Generally, the Gambia has witnessed healthy achievements in this sector particularly in term of access. Access to tertiary institutions such as the Gambia college, Management Development Institute (MDI), Gambia Technical Training Institute (GTTI), and the University of the Gambia (UTG) has registered significant increases.4 While enrolment at the Gambia College and GTTI have registered significant increase from 14.9% and 17.5% between 2007 and 2008 respectively and MDI and UTG have also increased 43.4% and 50.6% for the same period respectively thus indicating high enrolment numbers.

  • Teacher training and support-The standardized tests have not been showing impressive results. The failure rates are relatively high particularly for girls who have under-performed at all levels. This is as a result of low performance level attained by the intakes, especially in English and Mathematics despite the significant expansion of class size by 72%.1 The PTC and HTC programme are over loaded with a wide range of subject contents that are not aligned to the school curriculum.

  • The Gambia College, the only teacher training centre, continue to be hampered by inadequate learning and teaching materials, together with an ill-equipped library and acute staff shortage which has contributed to its poor capacity to deal with the knowledge gap. Inadequate supervision for student teachers, overcrowded classrooms in the absence of skill gap development remain unsolved.

  • Other issues such as poor remuneration packages, high teacher attrition combined with short supply of training resources and capacity building opportunities have made it difficult for the education ministries to recruit and retain qualified academic staff

  • During 2007-2009, the number of students at all levels has significantly improved particularly in primary school and junior secondary schools. The Net Enrolment was 87% in 2008. Net –primary enrolment for school age children (7-14) has also increased significantly.

  • Access: Access to schools is not an issue. There has been remarkable achievement but there is still space for improvement both in increasing access (to meet targets of increasing admission rate from 101% to 125% by 2015) and ensuring that schools are supplied with the required qualified teachers and instructional learning materials.

  • Non- participatory school management: this is being improved by introducing the Senior Management Committee comprising the Head teacher and community members who are elected for a two year term. These management committees are found in the lower basic schools and are responsible for the entire management of the schools. These committees are subdivided into various committees such as; fund raising, academic, and development committees. Similar committees should be introduced at all levels including upper basic and senior secondary schools to encourage transparency.

  • Health: There has been a significant expansion in both primary and secondary healthcare services. The rural and poor communities have witnessed the construction of health centres, thus leading to 85% physical access to basic health services.

  • There has been a significant decline is seen in child mortality rate which used to be one of the highest in West Africa in and before the 1980s. There is a sharp decline from 159 per 1,000 to 93 per 1000 up till 2006. The target of reducing under-5 mortality rate to 133 per 1000 has been met; in 2009, under-5 mortality rate is at 128 per 1000.

  • an average increase of 2.5% for total malaria cases between 2007 and 2008

  • a decline of 3.5% from the 2007 to 2008 for uncomplicated under five years,

  • a sharp decline of 28.6% from 2007 to 2008 was registered for uncomplicated malaria cases in pregnant women.

  • Environmental health has been adequately catered for in the Public Health Act of 2005. The Act provides for protection, preservation and promotion of health. Diseases, food, occupational health, port health, buildings, slaughter houses, diseases and control of stray animals are also addressed for healthy consumption of food.

  • The Gambia has made remarkable achievements in the control of communicable diseases. Physical access has also been greatly improved by the expansion of health facilities in the rural areas and the recruitment of trained personnel and trained doctors in the various schools of the Gambia College and from the school of Medicine of the Gambia University respectively. Over 85% and 97% of the population are within 3 to 7.5 km of travelling time to a basic health facility and primary health care posts respectively.

  • Records show 90% coverage for childhood immunization across the country is being registered by EPI. The introduction of new infant immunization vaccines are being finalised for adaptation.

  • The national Eye Care Program has reduced the prevalence of Trachoma which is the leading cause of blindness is being effectively controlled through the mass distribution of Azithromycin as per WHO recommendation thus reducing blindness down to 0.4% despite the population increase. Having provided cataract surgery throughout the country, Gambia is the only country in the sub region that has met the cataract surgical rate. The regional eye care centre is now fully operational, providing both clinical and surgical services, and training of eye care personnel from all over Africa.

  • The National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) together with the Department of Water Resources have been taking measures to mitigate these problems and improve the water supply situation in urban areas.

  • The rural areas have witnessed the construction of hand pump wells reaching a fair level with significant achievements registered in the provision of safe drinking water of minimum standard of 25 Litres per person per day as basic right. The GoTG/Japan Rural Water Supply Projects Phase II, The Saudi Sahelian Project Phase iv, UNDP are the main providers of safe drinking water supply to various communities in the Gambia. Other providers include UNICEF, the CCF, EDF and CDDP. During the period under review, considerable access to water supply in all the regions is not below average with l150 water points provided in the form of hand pump wells with sustainable and management training.

  • The EDF has recruited an NGO for Health Education Media Campaigns and also constructed pit latrines country-wide; trained village masons nationwide on construction; and promotion of hand washing at local level. Equally, the department of water resources training school was rehabilitated and the training for 14 Class IV hydrology and meteorology technicians commenced in March, 2009 and the first graduates are expected in December, 2009.

  • A lot of improvement has been realized in the provision of social welfare services. The department of social welfare has been fulfilling its duties as a provider and enabler. Child right protection services have been given prominence both by the security outfit of the country and the department of social welfare. Support has been provided to the risky and needy children. The private sector initiatives support such as the Standard Chartered Bank and the Trust Bank Limited has provided valuable services to the Orphans and the vulnerable. Forster care schemes have also supported babies and their families affected by maternal deaths.

  • Adult Care: Service provision for destitute adults continues to extend support to two hundred and seventy-five (275) Gambian and over hundred (100) families. Support was extended to these people in the form of clothing, food Items and financial assistance through grants.

  • Disability Care: Support for disability is gaining recognition in the Gambia. However, given limited resources, satisfying demands is far below targets. Persons with Disabilities are found almost in all places within the urban areas begging for their survival.

  • The Department ‘s main rehabilitation services have continued to supply Mobility Aid and Assistive Devices for over five thousand (5000) persons with Disabilities.

  • Other social services and protection provided include: water, climate change, sanitation, social protection and social welfare and foster care scheme.

  • Significant achievements have been registered in the provision of social services in The Gambia. In all regions, immediate rehabilitation and improvement as well as major and minor maintenance work of rural water supply and sanitation scheme have been carried out.

  • Awareness on climate change particularly with reference to global warming and the emulsion of pollutant gases were created. Social protection, social welfare and foster care have also gained recognition, particularly with for the vulnerable (young and the old).

Challenges and Gaps

  • Education has benefited from extensive program support both from government and donors. As indicated above, remarkable achievements were registered in terms of access but quality remains a challenge. This is not to say issues such as resources, management and access are fully addressed.

  • Quality: Education quality challenges are centred around: Teacher training and support; pedagogy teaching and learning material in schools; and Leadership and management together with parents and community participation in schools.

  • Teacher training and support

    The standardized tests have not been showing impressive results. The failure rates are relatively high particularly for girls who have under-performed at all levels. This is as a result of low performance level attained by the intakes, especially in English and Mathematics despite the significant expansion of class size by 72%.1 The PTC and HTC programme are over loaded with a wide range of subject contents that are not aligned to the school curriculum.

  • The Gambia College, the only teacher training centre, continue to be hampered by inadequate learning and teaching materials, together with an ill-equipped library and acute staff shortage which has contributed to its poor capacity to deal with the knowledge gap. Inadequate supervision for student teachers, overcrowded classrooms in the absence of skill gap development remain unsolved.

  • Other issues such as poor remuneration packages, high teacher attrition combined with short supply of training resources and capacity building opportunities have made it difficult for the education ministries to recruit and retain qualified academic staff.

  • Pedagogy teaching and learning material in schools

    Generally, the culture of reading is not reinforced in schools. Inadequate supply of supplementary reading material, lack of fixed procedures and pedagogy, rote reading and learning and ill-equipped classrooms adversely affect the students’ ability to become seasoned writers and literates.

  • Leadership & Management and Parents & Community Participation-Management of schools are not widely defined. The concept is not broadening nor given any special attention. Support and training for head teachers are not clearly defined. The effectiveness of the parent teacher associations is modified and now known as leadership and management in schools can be enhanced by the community and parent participations. Another bottleneck is that head teachers are not always accountable to the communities they serve.

  • Resources: Inadequate human and material resources mainly caused by the funding gap at all levels of education resulted in the poor server delivery in public educational institutions. Inadequate physical infrastructures in urban areas have resulted in overcrowded classrooms and poor learning conditions. Lack of functional laboratories particularly in the sciences has hindered the effective teaching of these subjects.

  • ]Management: Under staffed and under resourced regional directorates. Despite the additional staffing and provision of additional vehicles to some of the regional directorates, they are yet to realise their full potential to ensure excellent coverage of the supervisory mandate of their work which is key.

  • Inadequate capacity of cluster monitors in terms of methods of teaching and school administration despite attempts to enhance their capacities make it difficult for them to carry out their functions properly.

  • Access: Access to schools is not an issue. There has been remarkable achievement but there is still space for improvement both in increasing access (to meet targets of increasing admission rate from 101% to 125% by 2015) and ensuring that schools are supplied with the required qualified teachers and instructional learning materials.

  • Basically, the enrolment has gone up overall; however, quality now becomes the issue. There has been insufficient action by some regions to put in place the necessary conditions to scale up the requirements of the new educational policy. There has been a delay in the finalising of curriculum framework that is supposed to serve as a guiding tool.

  • Health: The primary level: Weekly visits to these establishments to measure progress level and additional training for personnel have been neglected.

  • The secondary level: Encompasses too many categories of facilities. It is not efficiently organized. Some of the minor health centres are poorly built. Often difficulties are encountered to upgrade structures due to lack of space. Drug stores also are poorly ventilated among others.

  • Hierarchical linkages between different facilities and different categories of facilities are not precise indeed; there are disparities even within facilities of the same category depending on location and other factors. Such structural and operational ambiguities make efficient management of the system difficult.

  • The Third level: Generally, the referral system among all the service levels is weak. Moreover, DHTs, which should play an important role in organizing health services delivery, are weak with regard to human, material resources, and planning capacity.

  • The access to water supply in urban areas is better as compared to rural areas. However, the urban water supply systems have difficulties having outlived their design period, low expected output/production level, inadequate system and high leakages, as well as low level of investment and implementation capacity.

  • To sum up, proportion of population using improved drinking water has been attained but sanitation remains a major problem thus access to safe drinking water cannot be guaranteed.

  • For social protection the budget allocations in the national budget though increased annually since 2007 is not enough to cover the available programmes.

  • Projects are in place for assistance but delays and prolonged process in loan and grant programme implementation have setback effort. Lack of comprehensive institutional arrangement, and or management and high cost of construction of raw materials and poor and low implementation have impeded of progress.

Pillar 4: Enhance governance systems and build the capacity of local communities and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to play an active role in Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction

The primary focus of this pillar has been centred on four areas: Local Community; Civic Education; National Assembly; and NGOs and below is the summary of the findings:

  • Capacity building and development for the local community: Through women group, strengthening capacity of community based organisations is done with the provision of Technical Assistance, resources, (self labour and or financial support). The Government has been undertaking regular comprehensive reform measures to improve community participation in governance.

  • Programmes designed to build capacity for local communities to enable them participate in planning, create awareness and structural reforms were among strategies for participatory development progress.

  • Over the years programs of action have been designed for local council decentralization to undertake institutional transformations that enable them to provide products and services to their customer in an effective and efficient manner. In this regard, local councils are headed by governors and constituencies/wards headed by a in a bid chairman to ensure autonomy.

  • One of the local community capacity building strategies is the creation of capacity for capacity building. Institutions such as the Commission’s Office have now changed to Governor’s office and division were renamed as regions. These have widened their mandates and empowered them to adequately extend their functions. Locally, both village and ward development committees are directly involved in local initiatives.

  • As with central government, local institutional transformation process is at different stages across regions. Planning units within local councils are being strengthened by organising work-shops for both area councillors and governors on financial management to enhance their managerial skills. A Financial manual has already been compiled and ready for use.

  • Through the CDDP, key managers and six financial controllers were recruited and posted in the six rural regions. Priority is accorded to village intervention exercise taking cognisant of population and poverty indicators. A developed village strategic plan for 145 communities were supported and implemented.

  • Training on Local Government Act, project costing and implementation was also conducted in all the 145 villages. 50 multi disciplinary facilitation teams (MDFT) were trained on the field guide manual, 44 rapid results initiatives approach and team building to enable them provide good coaching to the communities.

  • Six rural councils were supported with six desk Top computers and their accessories with solar powered system to ensure uninterrupted power supply.

  • Civic Education: NCCE’s programmes serve as an advocacy component for good governance programme. In preparation of the January 24th 2008 local government elections, the NCCE conducted a nationwide voter education campaigns to raise public awareness on the importance of the approaching elections and the need for electorates to effectively participate in the process. Through the assistance provided by the election baskets fund under the coordination of UNDP the NCCE was able to carry out ten days a nationwide community outreach and face-to-face meetings in towns and villages.

  • In March 2008, barely two months after the local government elections, the NCCE organised training seminars for the newly elected councillors on the local government act 2002 as amended. These trainings were conducted for each council in their respective councils for two days each.

  • The NCCE took time to incorporate the series of amendments made into the principal act and made copies for each elected and nominated councillor, majors and chairpersons. The merging of splinter amendments into the main act as a single copy will ease to a great deal the trouble of cross-referencing between the principal act and its amendments. Bearing in mind that the act is the guiding document for the entire decentralisation process, time and pain was taken by NCCE to take the councillors through the entire act punctuated by detailed contextual explanations and/or interpretations.

  • A post election community sensitization was also conducted in Central River Region South from the 25th -31st may 2008 on the mandate and functions of ward and village development committees and the need to establish them on time in order to maximize benefit. 20 meetings were conducted in selected communities in the Janjanbureh local government area.

  • Pursuant to the second strategic objective of piloting civic and human rights education teaching modules, the NCCE conducted a validation workshop, teacher training and three monitoring visits during 2008 brought together key stakeholders such as the curriculum research evaluation development and in-service training (credit), Gambia teachers union, Gambia college, MOBSE to evaluate the teaching modules with the aim of improving on its content, pedagogy and relevance before commencing the pilot exercise. The validated materials were then printed into handy books ready to be distributed to pilot schools.

  • In collaboration with regional education directorate, 12 upper basic cycle schools were subsequently identified in each educational region for the piloting series of training workshops were organised to familiarise teachers from the selected schools on the contents and various teaching techniques to be adopted for the teaching of the civic and human rights modules within career subjects. These training workshops were organised at the regional levels attracting four teachers from each of the twelve chosen schools including head teachers.

  • Since the schools reopened from the summer break in September, three monitoring missions were undertaken to assess the teaching and learning situation. The three missions conducted between 15th -17th September, 27th -30th October and 1st -5th December 2008 respectively. Overall the situation as per the monitoring reports is so far satisfactory. The monitoring exercise is expected to be completed in March or April 2009.

  • National Assembly: The national assembly in its oversight functions continues to make significant progress despite meagre resources at its disposal. The joint session of public accounts/enterprise committee of the national assembly commenced since the 25th august 2008 and has been considering the annual activity reports, audit accounts, financial statements and management letters of 51 government enterprise and agencies. 26 institutions have successfully been scrutinized by the committee with 14 agencies presently deferred. These reports were critically and frankly debated by national assembly members.

  • A contract was awarded to an auditing firm for the auditing of the national audit office. The secretary of state for works and construction and infrastructure and national assembly select committee on project monitoring has just concluded a tour on projects sites throughout the country.

  • Negotiation is completed for the construction of a modern parliament building. A project officer is placed in the national assembly to help build the capacity of NAMs and support staff under the auspices of UNDP funding.

  • Civil Society and poverty reduction: There have been great achievements in building capacity, lobbying, advocacy and food security.

  • Capacity Building: Tango and Concern Universal were involved in supporting organisational self-assessment. This initiative is to build capacity programmes that can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of partner organisations to deliver social value to communities. 75 national NGOs were targeted and so far 15 of them have benefited from the programme. Voluntary Services Overseas (vso) also provided international volunteers to support the capacity building of NGOs and government departments, in the areas of disability, education and secure livelihoods.

  • The Pro-poor advocacy group (Pro-PAG) is the only NGO involved in budgetary exercise. In 2008, they built the capacity of NGO partners and the National Assembly in budget analysis and budget advocacy. This has enabled the latter to develop the skills to scrutinise national budgets. In 2009, the National Assembly members were trained in policy and budget analysis and social accountability. This will further enhance their ability to monitor and evaluate public service delivery at the decentralized level.

  • Lobbying and Advocacy: NGOs and CBOs have been active in lobbying and advocating for pro-poor policies projects and programmes. Lobbying government to influence policy has been their key achievements in 2008. The national NGOs have carried out a variety of advocacy and sensitization activities in the areas of health, education, environment, community participation and disability issues.

  • Food Security: The year 2008 witnessed an unprecedented food crisis in peace time in the world. The Gambia was not spared by the crisis. This eroded the gains registered over the past decade, hence the need to refocus interventions to address the problem. At the climax of the crisis, Action Aid the Gambia and VSO led the NGOs in engaging the Gambia government to develop an action plan. At the community level, national NGOs and CBOs have rendered support to horticultural gardens, cereal production.

Challenges and Gaps

  • Though the programs have been transformed into full scale implementation, community skills improvement project has implemented quite a good number of programs that ranges from youth production workshops, construction of multipurpose centres and the procurement of equipment needed for these centres.

  • Skills and income generating schemes were embarked upon but problem of coordination and integration at all levels as well as lack of clarity on the content and implementation strategies of program have remained unsolved.

  • Most of The Civil Society Organisations have serious governance issues making it problematic for them to address issues of concern of the citizenry to government. The lack of accountability mechanisms, transparency and focus is a case for concern.

  • Lack of capacity among some civil society organizations makes it difficult for them to fufill their mandates.

  • Donor driven activities have made the Civil organisations react to donor priorities and not their own priorities leaving them unfocused.

  • Few civil society organisations have the capacity to advocate to government on behalf of the citizenry

Pillar 5: Cross-cutting Issues

The Gambia PRSPII identifies certain thematic areas as crosscutting issues to be mainstreamed within the implementation process. These areas are broad and related to both the Vision 2020 and some Goals of the MDGs. The crosscutting issues identified as important for any sustainable poverty reduction program are: Gender and women empowerment, Forestry, environment, parks and wildlife, HIV and AIDS, Nutrition, Population management, Youths and unemployment. Below are the findings of the pillar:

  • Increased enrolment and retention of girls at primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education,

  • Gender parity between girls and boys at primary level

  • Expansion of the girls education scholarship to all education regions.

  • Introduction of special university access program for girls at the University of The Gambia.

  • Introduction of Adult Literacy programs in Upper River Region targeting 500 women.

  • Strengthening interventions such as FAWEGAM Girls Friendly School initiatives

  • Improving women and girls entrepreneurial skills: Training of 1250 women in vegetable production, marketing, food preservation techniques and pest control.

  • Construction and improvement of 26 women gardens with the provisions of farm inputs and implements.

  • Providing laws and enabling environment that will effectively protect women’s rights and ensure participation: The National Women Policy of 1999 to 2009 has been revised and the National Women’s Bill has been sent to Cabinet.

  • Establishment of CMCs in several communities for the promotion of the welfare of women and girls. and election of 18 women as ward councillors in the various Local Government Councils.

  • Development of communication strategies and gender outreach programs and women leaders trained on advocacy and networking skills.

  • Mobilize resources for gender and women empowerment interventions: Renewal of the UNFPA Gender country program; Proposing and receiving grant for training of women leaders through the UNDP; Proposing and receiving a grant from the Spanish NEPAD program for improvement of women entrepreneurial skills.

  • Proper coordination and monitoring and evaluation of the women and gender related programmes: Training of 3 Women’s Bureau staff to Diploma level; Development of advocacy and communication strategy in consultation with various sectors. Expansion of staffing norms and human resource based of the Women’s Bureau.

  • Environment: While increased action is needed in all sectors of the economy, environmental program efforts will be geared primary towards a sustainable natural resources management, energy and environmental health.

  • In collaboration with other institutions, the NEA has been implementing some Multilateral Environment Agreements (MEAs) over the period to address some of the global environmental issues. These include the montreal protocol on ODS, UN convention to combat desertification (CCD,), UN convention on the conservation of Biological Diversity (CBD) the protocol to phase out Persistent Organic Pollution (POPs), UN Framework convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Basel convention, Abidjan convention among others

  • The Gambia environmental Action Plan (GEAP) Phase II has been developed and being subjected to validation by stakeholders.

  • State of the environment Report has been completed

  • Green house gas inventory for the Gambia was developed has been updated

  • A Second national communication to the UNFCCC developed

  • Enforcement of anti-littering regulation commenced in 2008

  • With regards to MDG 6; Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases, prevalence rate in the Gambia is relatively low A total of 30 VCT sites exist in the country and a total of 45, 547 persons took VCT, whilst the figure represents 82% of the project target, it is a very small percentage of the 15-49 age group population of the country.

  • HIV/AIDS: Prevention of parents to child transmission (PPTCT)

    The services package has been extended to all health facilities and is available countrywide to all pregnant women found to be HIV positive.

  • Anti-Retroviral therapy (ART) 8 fully functional ART centres exist in the country located in the various regions. 9 sub-ART centres have also been established in the country to increase access to ART.

  • Clinical care including prophylaxis and treatment of opportunistic infections Treatment of opportunistic infections is an essential component of the management of people living with HIV. Activities done in this area include:

  • Training of workers in HIV care and ensuring an uninterrupted supply of drugs for opportunistic infections and related clinical conditions

  • Maintaining continuous availability of HIV laboratory supplies

  • Closer supervision of services delivery.

  • Capacity Building of stakeholders: Training of 32 health workers on the WHO integrated infant feeding counselling modules.

  • Development of training modules on the management of severe nutrition.

  • Training of Village Health Support Groups and the introduction of the Baby Friendly Community Initiatives to 293 communities countrywide.

  • Studies/assessments and surveillance of nutritional status of vulnerable groups: Conduct of food vulnerability mapping in Banjul and KMC in which 60% of households are found to be food insecure.

  • Nutritional surveillance of children of 0-5years in which 10% were found to be wasting

  • Micronutrient deficiency control: Local salt iodization program targeting 108 tons of locally produced salt country wide; 86% of children age 6 – 59 months covered for vitamin A supplementation and 82% of the same age category covered for de-worming; expansion of the comprehensive anaemia control program to 10 communities in the Upper River Region.

  • Food safety and quality: Implementation of a biosecurity support project

  • Development of Five Year Strategic Plan on the Food Control Sanitary and Phytosanitary Systems.

  • Preparation and production of a standard edible fats and oils.

  • Reproductive health: The programme provided support to the networks Traditional Communicators (TCs), Youths and NGOs in country of undertake a variety of advocacy activities in 2008 as continuation of the process already started in the previous years. The main aim is to eradicate harmful traditional practice (including –female genital cutting), early marriage, promoting reproductive health and reproductive rights and adolescent reproductive health service provision).

  • The programme supports the TCs in conducting community sensitizations and the network of journalists to publish a newsletter and other media materials to seek the support and lessen the opposition of religious and traditional leaders and males to reproductive health programmes. The programme also funded series of youth media campaigns on Sexual Reproductive Health issue. These drew audience from a wide range of people from all walks of life.


During the implementations of PRSP II From 2007 to date, institutional transformations activities have been undergoing in the above mentioned institutions. Institutional support to other institution complementing government that would help it dramatically improve their effectively and efficient of services it provides to its customer. The announcement activities are underway during the period under review, the research found competent of these institution fall short of.

3.0 Key Lessons Learnt

Several lessons have been learnt from the implementation of the PRSP. They include:

  • Need for participation by all stakeholders in the reforms to improve the implementation and mechanism for accountability, and to ensure ownership and commitment to the reforms

  • Need to promote attitudinal change within implementing institutions to complement the technical changes introduced by the PFM programs. For example, early emphasis on need for attitudinal change within the government accounting cadre paid dividends and helped reduce resistance to the introduction of computerized accounting systems within government

  • MOFEA has faced difficulty coordinating the various reform programs in an effective manner. It is therefore important to create synergies where possible to ensure effective program governance arrangements for the agreed upon PFM interventions and also to ensure adequate stakeholder involvement in the implementation of the reforms. The establishment of the Public Financial Management Committee is expected to go a long way in facilitating the needed synergies while maintaining clear accountabilities for implementation.

  • Human resources capacity constraints in The Gambia are a reality. For instance, the IFMIS project found it difficult to secure resources that possessed the needed qualifications and sufficient skills to implement an IFMIS. ISPEFG also suffered from a limited availability of specialized manpower resources to undertake institutional development activities as programmed. Implementation of the MTEF has also been delayed by lack of capacity to undertake basic/credible planning and budgeting processes. This has resulted in strong reliance on external resources and delays in implementation of the reform programs. Addressing HRM issues in the Gambia is therefore necessary especially to provide a strong foundation for successful implementation of the targeted reforms as well as ensuring long term sustainability of the reforms being implemented.

  • Basic social services for the poor in the Gambia cannot leave out food shelter, employment and basic clothing. With surging food prices and high cost of land affordability has become an issue for the poor.

  • Employment is becoming a major problem with the youthful population making up 22% of the 6% unemployment figures. Rural-urban migration has left migrants without the necessary skills to earn a living.

  • Improving the effectiveness of education and training programs is important in helping migrants meet the skills demanded in the urban sectors, strengthening linkages between education and work to increase the relevance of training opportunities and improve employability.

  • Focus on interventions in agricultural productivity rather than the current emphasis on expansion of agricultural land and increase attention to the promotion of nonfarm activities in the country’s agricultural development strategy would have provided better food security

4.0 Recommendations

General Recommendations

  • 1. Lack of capacity and capacity gaps are a concern for all sectors in the implementation of the PRSP. An assessment of capacity needs is therefore recommended.

  • 2. Resources for PRSP II implementation are limited making achieving results difficult, A Resource mobilisation strategy needs to be developed as well as identify new funding partners.

  • 3. There is lack of clarity on reporting responsibility or exactly how to report because of the numerous indicators. There should be clarity about who has the mandate to implement what.

  • 4. The need to take into account emerging issues such the global economic crisis, climate change and political and economic developments in the sub-region-- in order to mitigate the impact of these on the achievement of the PRSP goal.

Specific Recommendations

Pillar 1: Macro-economic situation

  • 5. It is necessary that Ministries/sectors give preference to PRSP programs in allocating resources for spending. Furthermore, the institutions should identify more poverty reducing programs at the expense of discretionary programs within their administration. This will eventually help to change the existing resource allocation pattern.

  • 6. Government should expand and strengthen bilateral cooperation in order to secure additional resources, particularly grants, to finance PRSP programs. This will help minimise the risk of inadequate funds due to unfulfilled pledges made by donors at roundtable conferences.

  • 7. There should be improved marketing of agricultural produce, with emphasis on the quality of exports, i.e. processing of groundnuts into oil products, and other value added products. Furthermore, the diversification of export products will help to reduce the country’s vulnerability to external shocks.

  • 8. Priority should be given to ensure that greater amount of resources are allocated to build the capacities of local communities and civil society organisations in order to strengthen their roles for the effective delivery of goods and services to the poor. The existing amount of allocations from government resources is limited given the expected scope of decentralisation and its associated functions.

  • 9. The ranking of sectoral priorities according to the PRSP is not consistent with existing government allocation of resources. Agriculture continues to receive below 5% of overall government departmental budget whilst Health and Education receives 8% and 16% respectively. This ranking for Agriculture should be reversed to be in line with the PRSP priorities with a view to reflect the needed services of the poor. As a result, both the growth and the shares of budget allocations for Agriculture should increase to the desired level during the period of the PRSP implementation.

  • 10. There is need to promote commercial Agriculture, irrigation and mechanised systems to enable the farmers produce higher yields of agricultural products. This can help to improve the quantity of our local produce for both exports and domestic consumption thus generating additional revenues for the local producers.

  • 11. There is need for government to pursue more prudent fiscal discipline with a view to reduce its domestic borrowing requirements.

  • 12. To reduce the backlog of cases in the courts, there is need to strengthen the Alternative Disputes Secretariat (ADRS). The ADRS is currently operating but not under full capacity. Most of their operations are concentrated in the Greater Banjul Area and for that matter, there is need to increase coverage to many parts of the country by providing expanded infrastructure and human resources.

  • 13. There is need to increase the capacity of legal sector in terms trained legal practitioners especially Judges, Magistrates and Lawyers, in order to help support the delivery of legal services. In addition, there is also need to improve the Library infrastructure and facilities, and encourage more research to enhance the provision of quality and timely legal services.

Pillar II:

  • 14. Timely provision of certified quality seeds and planting materials, focusing on cereals and selected horticultural production;

  • 15. Strengthen and expand the existing Integrated Pest Management activities into a national programme with biological and chemical technologies such as herbicides in crop production to improve land productivity and alleviate labour bottlenecks especially at weeding;

  • 16. Promote and strengthen financial intermediation in order to increase access of small holders to credit and savings;

  • 17. Strategies to be pursued for food and horticulture crops are the availability of water, access to inputs and outputs markets, post harvest handling and storage, transportation and processing;

  • 18. A special programme for research and extension for staple food crops should be developed, drawing on the existing Research Master Plan, in a number of priority areas including seeds and planting materials, mechanization and soil fertility;

  • 19. Intensify the advocacy for and support to the organization and strengthening of small holder producers groups for economies of scale particularly for infrastructure, financial services and mechanization;

  • 20. Strengthen and extend the use and improved management of user managed mechanization devices particularly tractors and draught animal power;

  • 21. Establish and manage effectively selected water availability technologies and mechanisms such as irrigation. The Ministry should establish a special programme elaborating the options, targets, requirements and costs. The programme should also make provision for support to the establishment of new or strengthening of existing Water users Associations for their sustainable use and management of the schemes;

  • 22. Government should, in consultations with the private sector and development partners and external investors, provide improved transport, handling facilities and storage infrastructure, including pursuing Warehouse scheme under private sector management; facilitate the establishment and growth of packaging industry; as a strategy to transform the agriculture.

  • 23. Government should also encourage and facilitate public and private sector partnerships in research and cost-recovery extension services; investment in value chain activities; establishment of market information systems and services; contract farming and/or out-grower schemes;

  • 24. Promote sustainable linkages between organised groups of producers from the sub sector and operators from the high value markets, including hotels associations, tourist and entertainment association’s marketers and exporters;

  • 25. Machines should be compact, light, low-powered, and multi-purpose. Locally-available materials must be incorporated in fabricating machines to reduce the manufacturing costs. 3- Small-size tractors, mini-power tillers, and small farm equipment must meet the needs of small farmers.

  • 26. Highly trained staff is recommended immediately at this moment for farm machinery production and modification. Training local craftsmen in manufacturing technology, operation, repair and maintenance would promote local manufacture of agricultural machinery

  • 27. Provide safeguards for the poultry sector against unfair competition from imports.

  • 28. Government and private sector complementation are vital in promoting farm mechanization. Service centers could be established in rural and remote areas; and financial assistance, loans, and subsidies must continue to provide machinery owners and users of continued farm production operations.

  • 29. Farmers’ organizations or cooperatives can also be tapped, particularly in setting up joint use of farm machineries and other modem farm facilities.

  • 30. Strengthen and retain the capacity of NARI undertake more selective research to improve production and productive of farmers.

  • 31. Strengthening capacities of farmer organizations and cooperatives

  • 32. Institutional stability is essential for policy direction and effective programme implementation.

  • 33. Provide an enabling environment for diversification into the harvesting of unexploited and under exploited stocks.

  • 34. Regulate estuarine shrimp fishery (increase net mesh size) and introduce closed fishing areas/fishing seasons; limit entry especially foreign fishermen).

  • 35. Provide infrastructural facilities and promote sensitization campaigns to increase Gambian participation in marine artisanal fisheries

  • 36. Maintain ban on beach seine net, the use of dumo and destructive nets.

  • 37. Support and facilitate skills development and improved knowledge of young men and women in the fisheries sector.

  • 38. Facilitate the access to finance and appropriate technologies for use by young men and women fisheries operators and investors.

  • 39. Encourage the formation of fisheries associations within the artisanal fisheries sub-sector.

  • 40. Sensitize fishing communities on gender related issues and encourage participation of women in co-management systems.

41. Promote the development of aquaculture (commercial and small-scale, and oyster culture).

42. Facilitate the establishment of mariculture production systems of high value, exportable species (e.g. Crustaceans).

43. Maintain the biodiversity of inland fisheries ecosystem.

44. Promote fish production, preservation, processing and marketing of capture and cultured fish

45. Promote the development of aquaculture (commercial and small-scale, and oyster culture).

46. Facilitate the establishment of mariculture production systems of high value, exportable species (e.g. Crustaceans).

47. Maintain the biodiversity of inland fisheries ecosystem.

48. Promote fish production, preservation, processing and marketing of capture and cultured fish

49. Promote and support capacity building in the industrial fisheries sub-sector, particularly with regard to improving products quality hygiene and sanitation in fish processing establishments.

50. Facilitate the conduct of adaptive fisheries research within appropriate institutions in the country

51. Conduct resources surveys on all categories of fish stocks

52. Conduct catches and stock assessment surveys

53. Strengthen the fisheries database with proper equipment, capacity building and funding to attain applicable results in the analysis of such data

54. Enhance collaborative research and information exchange with national and international research institutions.

55. Disseminate research findings to all stakeholders to enable them collaborate in formulating and implementing

56. Undertake periodic surveys to establish the potentials and biomass levels of the target fisheries (marine and inland).

57. Undertake cultural and socio-economic research studies in fisheries.

58. More aggressive marketing is required to encourage more flights to the Gambia from the major tourists markets. During off-season chartered flights should be given special fiscal incentives to make their flights to the Gambia more economically viable.

59. Considering the labour absorption capacity of this sector as well as its dynamic positive externalities there is a need to consider an affordable energy rate for the industry especially during the off season, when most of the hotels operate far below capacity. This will enable them to continue to operate instead of closing down. In addition, other efficient sources of energy should be explored by the industry, and there is should be deliberate policy to encourage them take this path.

60. This industry is characterised by inadequate technical expertise and therefore expatriate tax on such personnel would not be helpful to the industry. The players in the industry that can demonstrate that certain competencies are not locally available should be allowed to source them from outside without paying expatriate tax.

61. Consultation among players in the industry concerning the excursion rate with a view to reducing it to encourage repeaters.

62. Destination marketing is expensive and therefore requires resources. The Gambia Tourism Authority should be provided the needed resources for marketing, and they should also explore other efficient means of destination marketing.

63. Furthermore, there is an urgent need to strengthen the human resource capacity of the Ministry so as to better articulate policies that are within the purview of the Ministry. The currently capacity which mainly comprises of young graduates most of whom have around two to five years work experience, would find it difficult to handle such a technical Ministry if they are not expose trainings.

64. The Ministry is seriously under resource and most of the time the programmes developed by the Ministry remain on the shelves and therefore there is a need to provide the Ministry with adequate resources to implement its programmes particularly the ones align with PRSP.

65. All the outdated policies should be updated to reflect the current development challenges so as to be useful to the attainment of PRSP objectives and MDGs. The Trade Policy was recently been validated should be finalised now and resources should be provided for the implementation of its policy programmes.

66. The Ministry should be assisted to establish a baseline data for the quantitative targets/indicates that has been submitted for PRSP II.

67. There is an urgent need to establish a labour information system to improve labour information and sharing for policy making. There is the need to assist both the Ministry and the labour Department to build their capacities in analysing labour data/information so as to ensure that such vital information are left out in the national development process. The Ministry should consider as a matter of urgency to fill all the vacancies in the Employment Division to make the Division function as it has been dormant for many years.

68. The institutional arrangement envisaged for the implementation of the MSME policy should be finalised urgently to provide the needed support services for the development of the MSME sector. The development of the MSME sector should be central in our development strategy if we are to win the war against poverty.

69. The plan to establish a functional Standard Bureau In 2011 should fail and everything should be done to keep the deadline as such institution is critical in promoting exports.

70. The Country Cooperation Programme signed with UNIDO should be pursued to ensure its implementation. The full implementation of this programme would greatly improve the productive capacity of the economy and thus improve the country poverty situation.

71. There is an urgent need to modernise transmission and distribution as well as increase the capacity of generation to meet the growing demand of electricity. This would doubt improve the efficiency of NAWEC which could translate into reduction of energy cost.

72. More private sector involvement in the production of LPG should be encouraged to improve supply as well as reducing cost to make it affordable by many.

73. Resources should be made available for the promotion of renewable energy particularly for the implementation of the result of the renewable energy feasibility study.

74. The use of Bio-mass as a renewable energy source should be promoted by the state by subsidising its construction, and there is a need for a deliberate policy to encourage private to investment in this area as a commercial venture.

75. Restriction in petroleum business should be lifted to allow free competition in the petroleum product market for the benefit of consumers.

76. The Government should do more to encourage the involvement of the private sector in the provision energy so as to utilise the investment potential in the sector, which remains largely untapped.

77. Efforts should be made by the Government to assist Gambia Ports Authority to implement its Master Plan that would enable the country to achieve its vision of the Gambia being an entry port in the sub-region.

78. Government should develop a privatisation plan to privatise ferry services so as to improve ferry services and hence enhance trade.

79. Government should withdraw its participation in the cellular phones operation to improve competition in the sector. In addition, there should be a review of the legal framework to allow the private sector to use the technology of their own to improve connectivity without relying on GAMTEL.

80. Private sector should be encouraged to invest in coastal shipping.

Pillar 3

  • 81. There is the need to create an attractive market to cut down on high staff attrition.

  • 82. Mobilise more funds and target the funds to address the issues of quality, capacity development, inadequate training, and insufficient learning materials.

  • 83. During this review period, access and health status has improved greatly. The health sector has enables increased access, coverage and improved health care. However, there is the need for additional resources to adequately cater for better infrastructure, poor management structures, inadequate supply of drugs and health facilities with limited numbers of doctors and trained personnel particularly in the rural care centres.

Pillar 4:

  • 84. During the implementations of PRSP II From 2007 to date, institutional transformation activities are being under-taken, institutional support to other institutions complementing government efforts have dramatically helped to improve on services delivery; there has improved macroeconomic growth; however, income inequality and poverty level remain high. To consolidate on gains and ensure smooth implementation process, the review found out the following gaps that need to be addressed: Funding gap, Infrastructural gap, Lack of adequate policy, poor and unrealistic strategic interventions

  • 85.

Monitoring and Evaluation

  • 86. Policy: The National Planning Commission as mandated by law is the ideal locus for the PRSP M&E system, however, for the system to function effectively it must be linked to policies and the budget process. It is also ideal to use much more organized sectors in terms of capacity for reporting as an entry point to other sectors. The weight and acceptability of the system depends so much on how it emanates as is the case with any policy process.

  • 87. Organization: The oversight functions of the PRSP M&E systems must be within the NPC, notwithstanding, its implementation should be decentralized specifying the roles of all the actors.

  • 88. Links to line ministries: PRSP monitoring systems on a supply of routine data from line ministries. For this to be effective the people involved at the level of the sectors must substantively involved in monitoring and evaluation for sectoral policy making and management purposes and have the authority, time, and incentives to play this role effectively. The system need to include an active strategy for promoting sound monitoring practices, such as rules requiring that monitoring and evaluation functions be incorporated into departmental budgets, work plans, and job descriptions.

  • 89. Links to the National Statistical Office: The Bureau of Statistics has some capacity for stimulate an effective PRSP monitoring system, this works best if the propose systems complements the existing systems at the statistics office to avoid duplication of efforts. The PRSP monitoring system should therefore cater for the provision of sufficient resources to GBOS to play their role in setting standards, providing technical assistance, and building the capacity of other actors in the PRSP monitoring system.

  • 90. Links to LGA/decentralized Structures: This shall be the most challenging aspect of the PRSP M&E system. It requires both or either of the approaches; encouraging LGAs to develop their own monitoring mechanisms or strengthening LGA monitoring systems at the central level. This should be complemented by linking quality control issues to targeted capacity building programs.

  • 91. Links to ongoing projects: The PRSP M&E system must seek the alignment of donor monitoring systems. This will ensure compliance by both sectors and projects and equally enjoy support from development partners.

  • 92. Capacity: The starting point for the M&E system is the assessment of capacity for M&E in the sectors and other actors within the system. Acknowledging capacity challenges and putting up plans to address them is crucial for the implementation of the plan.


The independent desk review of the PRSP II identified what it considered as major gaps such as:

  • ➢ A governance framework that is supportive of poverty eradication efforts

  • ➢ A capacity needs assessment for effective implementation of the PRSP

  • ➢ Resource mobilisation that targets new financing

  • ➢ The need for a sound monitoring and evaluation mechanism based on outputs and outcomes rather than activities

  • ➢ An institutional Support system that takes into cognisance the emerging issues such as: the public sector reforms, the economic management reforms, the new policies such as health, gender, disaster, and the creation of the Ministry of Planning, Finance and industry which now subsumes the NPC as the monitoring office for the PRSP

1.0. Governance

Inadequate attention to governance issues is one of the major gaps of the PRSP. Here we are defining governance as both economic and political governance. In the case of the Gambia the country is ranked high in financial governance by IMF and ranked 19th out of all African countries under the Mo Ibrahim index for governance, a favourable rating which gives Gambia an edge in its fight against poverty.

The Mo Ibrahim Index on governance offers a framework for governance analysis that indicates the areas in which countries can be scored to determine their compliance to governance, both political and financial governance. The four broad areas of the framework are:

  • - Safety and the rule of law

  • - Participation and human Rights

  • - Sustainable Economic Opportunity

  • - Human Development

According to Ibrahim, the new generation of African leaders faces a major challenge: to lift millions of people from poverty. This he argues “cannot be achieved without strong democratic societies; the functioning rule of law; the provision of health and educational facilities; an empowered civil society; and a framework conducive to strong economic growth. In other words, none of this can be achieved without good governance.”

The Gambia’s poor governance perception in some quarters within the international community has a potential adverse effect in resource mobilization; thus the need for a well-thought out strategy of communication and advocacy to address these perceptions.

1.1 The PRSP and Capacity Development

The PRSP recognizes that strong public institutions are critical to implement the PRSP, but needs also to successfully realize the slew of macro and sector reforms underway. Thus civil service reform is a key priority of the PRSP. Some of the actions envisaged include the following:

  • - Garner political will to support CSR

  • - Improve remuneration package for civil servants

  • - Design and formulate an overall training plan and policy

  • - Develop and implement a training master plan

  • - Promote strategic management in training programmes

  • - Review and disseminate civil service codes, regulations, etc

  • - Additional elements include: HR policy and action plan; attractive working conditions; security of tenure; and creating an environment for a highly motivated personnel.

Some achievements and progress made.

  • - CSR Strategy has been developed and presented at the Donor Round Table Conference on the PRSP

  • - UNDP project (Public Service Reform and Capacity Building Project) has made a good start.

  • - WB and ADB have also provided support.

  • - Some improvements in salary levels, etc

However, major strategic gaps exist. It is as yet unclear whether the political will to transform the civil service is sufficiently translated into the concrete actions required to ensure the creation of a highly motivated public service with the right conditions of service.

There is no overall effort aimed at identifying the capacity gaps for implementing the PRSP and developing and implementing a strategy to address these gaps. This should have been an essential first step as capacity constraints are recognized as a key impediment to implement the PRSP. Capacity mapping exercise undertaken shows that some of the line ministries in the productive sectors are poorly served. Also more efforts are directed at building capacities of public sector than the private sector.

1.3. Resource Mobilisation

Resource mobilisation has been a major problem for PRSP II implementation. The current resource situation is $480 million was identified as the funding gap for the 5 year PRSP, of which the government was to contribute 33% (25% has been given so far). Donors pledged 67% but only 22% have been received so far. However, some donors (EC/WB/ADB) have reached agreement with government to establish a general budget support mechanism in addition to other projects being currently supported.

One of the key gaps is lack of sufficient information on resource flows from non-traditional donors and the fact that they are not well integrated into the established aid coordination. New resource mobilisation targets should be set however, and because of the limited donor base in the Gambia non-traditional donors and partners such as foundations should be sought.

1.4: Institutional Support System

An institutional support system is needed which recognizes the emerging issues of the public sector reform, the new policies and the new Ministry of Planning, Economic Affairs and Industry which has subsumed NPC as the monitoring office of the PRSP......

1.4. Monitoring and Evaluation

The PRSP is conceived as the embodiment of the New Aid Paradigm emanating from the fact that previous aid architectures had failed to deliver expected results of economic growth and poverty reduction in developing countries. The PRSP is designed around six core principles of:

  • Country ownership

  • Participation

  • Comprehensiveness

  • Result orientation

  • Partnership

  • Long term perspective.

The three key players within the formulation and implementation of the PRSP are: government, donors and civil society. Ownership, effectiveness and accountability are important to this process. For government, ownership of the PRSP includes; political will for poverty reduction and economic growth, the ability and willingness of the bureaucracy to provide policy direction and leadership and its technical abilities to formulate and implement PRSP goals—as well as the institutional quality to diagnose, design, implement and monitor PRSP program effectively; while fostering both lateral and down accountability. The adoption of an Aid Effectiveness plan by Gambia has been a positive move

Poverty reduction strategy monitoring systems are central to the effective design and implementation of the PRSP. They foster accountability, support decision making and promotes dialogue among the actors. PRSP monitoring systems include tracking overall progress in poverty reduction, monitoring and evaluation of PRSP policies and programmes and the monitoring of budgets and expenditures. The process therefore focuses on the entire input, output and impact chain.

Tools were developed during the preparatory phase of PRSPII to aid the monitoring of implementation of the PRSP process in The Gambia. However, the review process found these tools to be inadequate in ensuring effective monitoring of the process. The tools were developed separately and were not an integral part of PRSP formulation rendering it problematic for implementation.


  • ➢ There is no clear cut framework for monitoring the implementation of PRSPII

  • ➢ The APR focuses more on process indicators than results

  • ➢ The results of the APR are hardly used as a feedback for subsequent planning by sectors.

The major challenges facing the monitoring systems of the PRSPII are:

  • ➢ Every sector is now considered as a PRSP priority and all sector policies, programmes and projects are considered as PRSP priorities. It is therefore critical to select core PRSP outputs from sector priorities.

  • ➢ The current results matrix consists of over 200 indicators, it cost time and money to monitor and report on all of them. There is therefore need to manage the outputs to a level that will allow effective monitoring of the indicators.

  • ➢ Harmonizing monitoring among sectors and decentralized levels could be a challenge as most sectors do not have efficient M&E systems or the required capacity to develop and maintain these systems.

  • ➢ Low levels of demand for monitoring information also tend to impact the supply of adequate information.


  • The PRSP M&E system should build on existing strategies

  • It needs gradual improvement

  • It evolves based on building flexible arrangements.

  • The system must focus on functional relations, incentives and activities to be effective.

  • The system must be able to stimulate demand for monitoring information.

  • Users of National M&E systems differ and need different formats and content

Recommendations for Improving PRSPII M&E Systems

Managing development effectiveness requires measuring policy effectiveness “if you can’t measure it you can’t manage it”. It is therefore crucial at this stage to develop a system that will track the implementation of PRSPII to generate reliable data on the progress indicators. However, it is important to note that the process is not starting from zero, there are already important tools and processes that are aiding monitoring of the PRSPII, what therefore matters at this stage is to harmonize the tools and fill the gaps that will eventually lead to a country PRSP M&E framework. This process needs to concentrate on the following:

  • ➢ An Annual Progress Report

  • ➢ A Results Matrix

  • ➢ A Resource matrix

Proposed M & E Framework – National Level

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