By Tabora Bojang
The Gambia government yesterday signed a tripartite funding agreement with the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the United Nations Office for Project Services, UNOPS, for the development of a digital master plan and institutional capacity building for urban municipalities in the country.
The Sustainable Urban Development Programmes is a 24-month initiative that would be implemented in the Kanifing Municipal Council, Banjul City Council, Brikama Area Council, Ministry of Local Government, and the Gambia Ports Authority.
The minister of finance and economic affairs Mamburay Njie said the goal of the new programme is to create a harmonised and comprehensive urban development plan that will create the necessary synergy between the strategy and investment plans of the local Authorities and the Port for the modernisation of their administrative governance for service efficiency to the people.
According to him, the lack of clear land policies and cadastral maps that provide a record of areas and values of land and its holders has impeded the local authorities’ efforts on tax collection and revenue generation.
The minister disclosed that the urban master plan would establish among others land cadastral and registration, prepare tax collection mechanisms, document land protection and development opportunities, and integrate with the GPA master plan and serve as a guide to the Councils in allocating plots that are infringing into the protected wetlands.
UNOPS Anglophone West Africa Director, Ifeoma Charles Monwuba stated: “The project shall support the capacity development of the urban municipalities to benefit from improved and scientific planning, improved urban land management, utilising latest technologies, and sustainable urban growth through improved revenues for enhancing service deliveries and infrastructure.”
She said with the current unprecedented rise in urbanisation that has given rise to environmental and socio economic concerns affecting many people in the Greater Banjul Area, UNOPS is pleased to support the Gambia respond to the challenges of the twenty-first century to shape the future of the GBA.
The Deputy Director-General, Regional Development, and Business Delivery Office at the African Development Bank Group said; ”The African Development Bank has identified ‘Port & Urban Development’ as the next flagship project the bank intends to support and captured in its new flagship Country Strategic Paper (CSP) for The Gambia for the next 5 years.”
Serge N’Guessan added: “This builds upon the successes of the transformational Senegambia Bridge and will see the development of the Port of Banjul and the cities of Banjul, Kanifing and Brikama – integrating and harmonizing with the economic gains from the trans-Gambia Corridor to support the country’s National Development Plans”.