Gambia’s Central Bank Governor, Bakary Jammeh was at the U.K – Africa Trade Investment Forum, on December 17, 2017, commended for his sterling performance and commitment towards repositioning Gambia’s economy and evolving sound monetary policies. The Governor who was awarded Africa’s Emerging Central Bank Governor of the Year Award, has in the last one year made concerted efforts toward restoring the country’s place in the committee of nations. The event which held at the Hilton London Olympia, London, also had in attendance, the Honorable Minister for Investment, Trade & Industry of Botswana, Mr. Vincent T. Seretse; Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade & Cooperation, Kenya, Mr. Adan Mohamed EGH; members of the political, business, and diplomatic community.
Mr. Jammeh who was appointed the Central Bank’s Governor by President Adama Barrow, has restored trust and credibility in the Bank and achieved price and financial sector stability through implementation of sound policies, smart regulations and reforms. He removed policies such as forcing commercial banks to sell 15 percent of their purchases of foreign currency to the central bank and fixing of the payout rates of remittances. These were replaced with an auction system and transparent reporting. He also enhanced central bank communication to the market. Moreover, he ensures that all the banks meet the minimum capital requirement and improve governance.
He also set up a team at the bank that is investigating the financial transactions of the former president and his close associates at the bank.
At the time of his appointment, international reserve of the bank was less than one month of imports of goods and services. Net international reserve including short-term SWAPs was negative. Today, international reserves reached 4 months of imports. Inflation which was 8.8 percent in January 2017 fell to 7.6 percent in September 2017 and inflationary expectations remained subdued. Moreover, the foreign exchange market conditions continue to improve and the exchange rate remains stable. He also normalized the policy at 15 per cent and this led to a decline in average lending rates from about 28 percent to 18 percent.
He continues to develop the bond market for the restructuring of the domestic debt. Monetary policy is also being modernized to be more forward looking. Moreover, he is reviewing the Central Bank Act and is working with development partners to restructure the Bank to be more effective and efficient. He also developed a policy of opening and closing of Government accounts. This is being reviewed and once finalized, it shall become a national policy.
The UK – Africa Trade and Investment Forum is aimed at enabling business relationships and building commercial interactions between the UK and African business and Policy leaders. The Annual event is crowned by recognizing outstanding African Chief Executives, who have contributed to the economic and fiscal growth of the continent within the twelve months prior to the award dinner.