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close this bookThe Courier N 119 Jan - Febr 1990 - Dossier National Languages - Country Report: Gambia (EC Courier, 1990, 100 p.)
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The Gambia-EEC Cooperation

In 1990, cooperation between The Gambia and the European Economic Community will have been in existence for 15 years, under the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Lomonventions. 1990 will also see the initiation of the LomV Convention, which, unlike its predecessors, will last for 10 years instead of five. Since the beginning of Lom in 1975, cooperation between the EEC and The Gambia has steadily grown, intensified and matured and is expected to grow further under Come IV.

It would be instructive to examine first what has happened in the past before reviewing the prospects for the future.


Table 1: The Gambia: Allocations, commitments and disbursements, 1975 to 1990 National Indicative Programmes


Lom, II and III Indicative Programmes

Over the three Conventions, the total volume of grants allocated to The Gambia amounted to ECU 44.8 m, of which ECU 43.75 m has been committed, and ECU 28.1 m has been disbursed (See Table I above). The allocation of Special Loans or risk capital under LomI and III amounted to ECU 3.5 m, although ECU 9.56 m has been committed, the additional ECU 6.06 m being “ non-programmable “.

At the end of LomII (1989) commitments under all three Conventions stood at a respectable 98 %, the last two years of the LomII period witnessing a surge of commitments for various projects and programmes. Disbursements under Lom and II Indicative

Programmes have now reached 86 %. Disbursement under the LomII Indicative Programme started slowly due to a slow rate of commitment, but now stands at over 36%.

Table 2 provides an indication of the allocation of funds by category of activity. Lom and II were characterised by a relatively wide range of activities. Under the category “ rural development”, emphasis was given to the construction of rural feeder roads. The largest single project under Lom was the construction and equipping of Gambia College, at Brikama, amounting to almost ECU 4.1 m. Gambia College is the highest educational and training institution in the country, covering the training of teachers, nurses, and agricultural extension staff. The College was officially opened by the President on 18 February 1983-the anniversary of The Gambia’s independence.

The largest project under LomI is the Banjul Sewerage and Drainage Project, for which grant finance of ECU 3.5 m was made available; the design studies were financed under Lom. The project aims at improved rainwater drainage, the provision of water-borne sewerage facilities in the capital Banjul, thus improving public health facilities in a low-lying area with a high water table. The overall project, which is not yet completed, also aims at providing public conveniences and home connections.

Artisanal fisheries development has received attention under all three Conventions, starting in 1977. Initially emphasis was given to access for fishing villages to beach sites and markets, together with a revolving loan fund for fishermen and vendors to acquire improved gear and equipment. In addition, an ice plant was constructed at Brikama, and a fish landing site was completed at Gunjur, in Western Division, in 1983. The objective of the two first phases of the programme was to encourage more Gambians to become fishermen by enhancing the economic environment for greater commercialisation. Under LomII, five beach landing sites have been developed by the construction of smoking huts, market and cleaning facilities, fishermen’s lockers, repair workshops, offices for fishermen and smokers, associations, and fisheries department extension staff, together with a new ice making plant and a landing jetty in Tanji.

The revolving loan fund will be enlarged to allow for the provision of improved vessels, engines and marketing equipment for traders. The construction phase is almost complete, and the work of mobilising fishermen to take advantage of new opportunities has been initiated. The current phase has benefited from the previous eight years’ experience, in that the villages and villagers, both men and women, have been drawn into the design and construction of the project from the start. It is anticipated that the pace of economic activity in the participating villages will be significantly increased as the quantity of fish landed increases, with increased quantities of fresh and processed fish being marketed and consumed both in The Gambia and in neighbouring countries.

Training and education has also figured under the first two Conventions, with the provision of some 212 student years training overseas, in addition to in-country training. Lecturers have been funded to carry out in-country and inservice training at the Management Development Institute in the fields of Financial Management and Accountancy.

LomII: sectoral concentration

The LomII Convention, beginning in 1985, saw a shift of emphasis from a relatively large number of interventions towards a policy of both locational and sectoral concentration, with a view to making aid funds more effective. In the case of The Gambia the period of policy dialogue was somewhat protracted as these new objectives were translated into appropriate projects and programmes. At the same time the European Community developed a new policy of directly helping heavily-indebted sub-Saharan countries undergoing structural adjustment programmes, through the financing of special import programmes designed to lead to the creation of counterpart funds.

It was mutually agreed that the sector to receive concentrated attention would be rural development and the environment. Within this framework, the largest Financing Agreement is for the Upper River Division Integrated Programme (URDIP) with a funding of ECU 7 m, comprising five principal elements: agriculture and forestry, primary schools health, feeder roads and river transport (two ferries at Basse and Fatoto), and credit for agriculture.

Supporting this sectoral concentration was the third Artisanal Fisheries Development Project, already mentioned above, and a Women’s Gardens Programme, both in Western Division.

The Gambia also received in 1988 one of the first Special Import Programmes to be funded by the EEC’ comprising the ECU 5 m funding of diesel and motor spirit needs of The Gambia for a period of one year. The fuel had been successfully delivered by the end of 1989 and the counterpart funds (40 million dalasis) from the programme will be applied to development activities from 1990 onwards, the bulk of them being used in the Upper River Division Integrated Programme (ECU 3.6 m equivalent).

The final significant project to be financed in 1989, a project which derives its funding from the balances of all three Conventions, as well as 10 million dalasis from the Fuel Import Programme, is the Four Provincial Centres Water Supply Programme. Its total estimated cost is ECU 5 m. This programme is linked to a major project for the improvement of water supplies in the Greater Banjul Area to which the European Investment Bank is contributing ECU 5.7 m.



Table 2: Percentage allocations by category under Lom,II and III

Stabex

As a country heavily dependent for foreign exchange and general economic health on the production, processing and export of a single crop-ground-nuts-The Gambia has benefited considerably from the European Community’s instrument of Stabilisation of Export Earnings (Stabex). Over the period 1978-1989, when world prices have fluctuated markedly and declined significantly, and when weather conditions in Sahel countries have been unfavourable, The Gambia has received a total of ECU 47.65 m in the form of Stabex grant transfer payments, which is as much as all national indicative programme allocations under the three Conventions. Stabex transfers are applied to price support measures, input provision, and agricultural diversification.

Regional cooperation

Regional cooperation is assigned an important role under the Lomonventions. Under Lom and II, funding was provided for in the evaluation and related studies of a bridge-barrage across the River Gambia, for the design and construction of various sections of the Banjul-Bissau Highway, for a telecommunications improvement programme for various ECOWAS countries, and for support to the International Trypanotolerance Centre based in The Gambia and Senegal, through ILCA and ILRAD for research on N’Dama cattle.

Under LomII, most regional projects benefiting The Gambia will be derived from its membership of CILSS (Comite Inter-Etats de Lutte contre la Secheresse au Sahel).

Cooperation outside the Lomonventions

The Gambia has benefited from food aid, both direct and through Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), emergency aid for locust control, co-financing with NGOs in small rural development projects and family planning, and a small environmental project to protect the diminishing number of hippopotami in the River Gambia.

Mention should also be made of the Fisheries Agreement between the EEC and The Gambia under which European Member State vessels may fish in Gambian waters, with licensing arrangements, and upper limits for total catch. The Agreement allows for an annual payment of ECU 1.1 m to The Gambia, together with funds for training and research. This Agreement is due for renegotiation in 1990.

Prospects for the future

With the signing of the LomV Convention the resources available for cooperation between the European Community and the ACP for the next five years have increased overall by more than 40 %. This increase will hold true also at the national level. The programmes likely to be funded in the future will follow the pattern of the past, particularly with the experience gained during the implementation of LomII. Consequently we may expect a similar concentration of effort either sectorally or geographically, with possible appropriate support in the structural adjustment process, which The Gambia is currently implementing effectively.

Alan WADDAMS
EEC Delegate to The Gambia