By Tabora Bojang
The Governor of Central Bank of The Gambia Bakary Jammeh has disclosed that the Gambia’s domestic economic outlook is showing steady and good signs of progress in its recovery phase, with real GDP growth projected at 5.4 percent in 2018 as the country overcomes an erratic economy it inherited from the former regime.
Governor Jammeh, who made the revelation during the bank’s quarterly press briefing after its 2018 monetary committee meeting, said economic growth has gained momentum on the back of sound macroeconomic policies, structural reforms, and strong external support as well as improved performances of the services sector and construction.
The Gambian economy has gone through troubling times, with a public debt at 120% of its GDP with higher poverty rate and youth unemployment at 38% as of January 2017.
“The current account deficit narrowed to US$26.69 million in the first half of 2018 from a deficit of US$60.02 million a year ago, reflecting the increase in current transfers and receipts from services,” he said.
“The gross international reserves are projected at a four months of next year’s imports of goods and services,” he added.
Governor Jammeh also highlighted the steady progress of the dalasi against other international currencies like pounds sterling.
“The exchange rate of the dalasi remains stable. From December 2017 to August 2018, the dalasi appreciated against pound sterling and CFA franc by 1.9% and 1.2% respectively. On the other hand, the dalasi depreciated against the US dollar and euro by 1.1% and 0.1% respectively,” Jammeh revealed.
“Private sector credit growth is recovering strongly following the marked decline in interest rates. Private sector credit rebounded with an annual growth rate of 20.0% in June 2018 after a contraction of 23.3 % a year ago.”
Governor Jammeh also stated that plans are underway in the reprinting process of new family notes to remove the head of the former president from the currency.
The monetary policy committee also announced the introduction of interest rate corridor effective September 03 2018. The interest rate on the overnight deposit facility is set at 2 % per annum and the interest rate on the lending facility is 1% above the monetary policy rate.