By Lamin SM Jaiteh
President Adama Barrow has stated that his administration recognises the Diaspora as the 8th region of the country and that his government would fulfill its pledge to the Gambian diaspora by assisting non-resident citizens to optimise their productive contribution to society, economy and polity for all.
Speaking at a meeting with Gambians in the UK, Barrow said key elements of the Gambia Diaspora Strategy are incorporated in the National Development Plan (2018-21).
President Barrow also disclosed that the Central Bank of The Gambia, working together with Ministry of Finance, the MSDG Technical Cooperation Project and other partners, would develop and implement schemes to reduce the transaction cost of remittances sent to The Gambia to an average of 3% or lower by 2021.
The President said his government is also aware of the need to support and settle returning migrants. “We are working with international partners and the Gambian Diaspora to provide appropriate protection and support to Gambians abroad, especially distressed and vulnerable migrants, endeavouring to reduce the number of irregular (back-way) migrants by 60% by 2021, from the high numbers of 2016,” he said.
He said the end of dictatorship will reduce the rate of irregular and dysfunctional migration, but it will not stop it. “The Gambia shares the United Nation’s vision that migration should be a choice, not a desperate necessity,” he said.
He gave the assurance that his government would fulfill its obligation to the people and urged all citizens to be committed to national development.