By Oumie Bojang
Buah Saidy, Governor Central Bank of The Gambia, has said the total remittance inflow to The Gambia in 2023 stood at USD 737.12 million, accounting for 32.11% of their normal GDP, representing an increase of 3.46% over the same period in 2022.
Mr Saidy made this disclosure at the 7th Stake of the Nation Forum held at Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara Conference Centre, under the theme “innovation and impact for inclusive development”.
The expansion he said is partly due to improved monitoring methodology and the increased use of formal channels by the diaspora and the use of technology in sending remittance. “The emergence of fintech companies is believed to have lowered the cost of sending and remittances, a key source of foreign exchange for The Gambia with considerable impact on balance of payments, and therefore the inflow of funds is a vital source of foreign exchange for businessmen and importers, by easing the international flow of goods and services into The Gambia,” the governor said.
He revealed also that the technical cooperation between the Central Bank of The Gambia and GK partners through the MSDG projects dated back to 2017, resulting in demonstrable improvement in remittance data and policy monitoring, analysis and innovation. “This has been recognised internationally and The Gambia now serves as an example and case study of good practice regarding remittance data analyses. To build on this success, the Central Bank in March 2024, in partnership with GK Partners will publish and launch the inaugural edition of a new resource, The Gambia Remittance and Diaspora Finance Factbook,” he said.
Professor Gibril Faal, director of GK Partners and MSDG Project, said as the theme of this year’s celebration is innovation and impact, his discussion centered on how they made the innovation. “As human continuity and familiarity is important, within the past seven years the idea of trying a little until you got the job done has stood them in good stead. Some of the ideas that have now become normal, ‘the orthodox’ diaspora of development, thirty years ago when makers like them were troubling the World Bank, International Organisations about how things should be done differently, it was not only understood, let alone accepted. Now they are in the domain of a global compact of migration, here in Gambia with the new dawn of democracy there are also things around diaspora and development that were not understood or accepted, but with commitment and partnership from the government they have been able to try certain things like the diaspora development fund.’
Ebrima Sawaneh, vice president African Finance Corporation, said today more than ever innovation makes it possible for them to participate in inclusive national development, but the following tips will grant impactful national development. “First structured investment, many of them are sending remittances to help their families but they should consider structured investment. Set up a company or business that will nurture and help build up others. Second is through knowledge and skills transfer, many of them have acquired skills and knowledge from a global perspective; these skills can immensely contribute to the development of their local talent, and businesses through mentoring, training and other support with national institutions.”