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Gambia on the rise: Celebrating the National Development Plan 2023-2027 (Yiriwa) and President Barrow’s leadership

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By Professor Dr Atif Amin Al Hussaini

The recovery-focused National Development Plan (NDP) 2023-2027 (Yiriwa) is an ambitious initiative aimed at propelling The Gambia towards a brighter future. Its primary aim is to lead The Gambia out of the shadows of past challenges and propel it towards sustainable and inclusive progress.

Here are some key features of the plan:

Focus areas

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·           Economic Empowerment: Diversifying the economy beyond tourism, promoting key sectors like agriculture and small businesses, and fostering entrepreneurship to create jobs and lift people out of poverty.

·           Human Capital Development: Investing in education, healthcare, and social protection to create a healthier, more skilled workforce and improve living standards for all.

·           Good Governance and Accountability: Strengthening institutions, ensuring transparency, and fighting corruption to create a conducive environment for investment and development.

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·           Environmental Sustainability: Embracing eco-friendly practices, mitigating the impact of climate change, and promoting sustainable resource management to protect the environment for future generations.

Goals

·           Achieve sustained economic growth and reduce poverty: The plan aims to create a more diverse and resilient economy that generates opportunities for all, leading to a significant decline in poverty levels.

·           Improve education and healthcare outcomes: By investing in these crucial sectors, the plan strives to create a healthier and more skilled population, enhancing the nation’s human capital.

·           Strengthen democratic institutions and promote good governance: Building trust and transparency in institutions will attract investments, ensure equitable resource distribution, and foster sustainable development.

·           Combat climate change and protect the environment: The plan recognizes the threat of climate change and aims to build resilience while promoting sustainable practices for long-term environmental well-being.

The Gambia recovery-focused National Development Plan (Yiriwa) : A crucial step towards a brighter future

The Gambia recovery-focused National Development Plan (NDP) 2023-2027 stands as a crucial roadmap for the nation’s journey towards progress and prosperity. Its importance cannot be overstated, for it addresses vital challenges and sets the stage for a brighter future for all Gambians. Here are some key reasons why this plan is so significant:

1. Addressing multiple challenges

The NDP tackles the intertwined issues of poverty, climate change, and economic instability, which have long hampered the nation’s development. By offering a holistic approach, it strives to break the cycle of these interconnected challenges.

2. Building a diversified economy

Overreliance on a few sectors has made The Gambia vulnerable to external shocks. The NDP promotes economic diversification, focusing on key areas like agriculture, tourism, and small businesses. This creates a more resilient and dynamic economy, generating new opportunities for citizens.

3. Investing in human capital

The plan prioritises education, healthcare, and social protection, fostering a healthier and more skilled workforce. This empowers individuals, leading to increased productivity and improved living standards.

4. Promoting good governance

The NDP emphasises transparency, accountability, and strong institutions. This creates an environment conducive to attracting investments and ensuring equitable distribution of resources, essential for sustainable development.

5. Embracing environmental sustainability

Recognising the threat of climate change, the plan promotes eco-friendly practices and climate adaptation strategies. This protects the environment and ensures long-term sustainability for future generations.

Overall, The Gambia recovery-focused National Development Plan is a comprehensive and strategic initiative that offers a tangible path towards:

·           Economic growth and prosperity

·           Improved living standards and reduced poverty

·           A healthier and more educated population

·           A more resilient and sustainable future

Therefore, supporting the successful implementation of this plan is crucial for all stakeholders in The Gambia. Together, we can turn this vision into reality and build a brighter future for the nation.

Outcomes of The Gambia recovery-focused National Development Plan 2023-2027 (Yiriwa)

Predicting the definitive outcomes of The Gambia Recovery-Focused National Development Plan (2023-2027) is difficult as it’s still early in its implementation. However, based on the plan’s objectives and the experiences of similar initiatives, we can expect potential outcomes in several key areas:

Economic

·           Increased economic growth: Diversification and investment in key sectors could lead to higher GDP and job creation.

·           Reduced poverty: Improved access to resources, employment opportunities, and social protection could lift individuals and families out of poverty.

·           Enhanced fiscal sustainability: Improved governance and transparency could attract investments, increase revenue collection, and manage debt effectively.

Social

·           Improved education and healthcare: Investments in education and healthcare could elevate literacy rates, improve health outcomes, and create a more skilled workforce.

·           Empowered women and youth: Specific programs targeting these groups could lead to increased participation in the economy and decision-making processes.

·           Reduced inequality: Equitable distribution of resources and opportunities could bridge the gap between different income groups.

Environmental

·           Enhanced climate resilience: Adaptation strategies could mitigate the impact of climate change on agriculture, infrastructure, and communities.

·           Sustainable resource management: Practices promoting environmental protection could conserve natural resources for future generations.

·           Reduced environmental degradation: Sustainable development approaches could minimise pollution and promote responsible waste management.

Important caveats

·           Implementation challenges: Achieving these outcomes relies on successful plan implementation, which can be hindered by factors like resource constraints, bureaucratic hurdles, and unforeseen events.

·           Timeframe: Significant improvements might take longer than the plan’s five-year lifespan, requiring sustained commitment and adjustments.

·           Monitoring and evaluation: Regular monitoring and evaluation are crucial to assess progress, identify challenges, and make necessary adjustments to the plan.

It’s crucial to remember that these are potential outcomes, and the actual results will depend on various factors. Nonetheless, the Gambia Recovery-Focused National Development Plan represents a significant step towards a brighter future for the nation. By actively supporting its implementation and holding stakeholders accountable, citizens can increase the likelihood of achieving these positive outcomes.

A nation on the rise: Appreciating The Gambia’s recovery-focused National Development Plan

The Gambia Recovery-Focused National Development Plan (NDP) 2023-2027 aims to break the vicious cycle of poverty through a multifaceted approach that tackles various interconnected factors contributing to it. Here’s how the plan envisions achieving this:

1. Economic empowerment

·           Diversification: The plan promotes diversifying the economy beyond tourism, focusing on agriculture, small businesses, and other sectors with high job creation potential. This creates more income-generating opportunities, especially in rural areas where poverty is concentrated.

·           Financial inclusion: Expanding access to financial services like microloans and savings accounts empowers individuals and entrepreneurs to start or grow businesses, generate income, and build assets.

·           Skills development: Investing in education and training programs equips individuals with the skills needed to secure better-paying jobs and contribute more productively to the economy.

 2. Social protection

·           Safety nets: The plan aims to strengthen social safety net programs that provide essential support to vulnerable populations like the elderly, children, and people with disabilities. This helps prevent them from falling deeper into poverty due to unforeseen circumstances.

·           Improved healthcare: Ensuring access to quality healthcare reduces illness-related costs and lost productivity, improving overall well-being and enabling individuals to work and earn a living.

·           Nutrition programs: Addressing malnutrition, especially among children, improves physical and cognitive development, leading to better educational outcomes and higher earning potential in adulthood.

3. Addressing underlying causes

·           Gender equality: Empowering women through education, skills training, and equal access to economic opportunities breaks down barriers and allows them to contribute to household income and decision-making, uplifting entire families.

·           Youth engagement: Investing in programs that provide education, skills training, and mentorship opportunities for young people equips them to enter the workforce and contribute to the economy, preventing them from being trapped in poverty cycles.

·           Climate resilience: The plan addresses climate change impacts that exacerbate poverty, such as erratic weather patterns affecting agriculture and resource availability. By building resilience, communities can better cope with challenges and secure their livelihoods.

It’s important to remember:

·           Breaking the poverty cycle is a complex and long-term endeavor. The NDP’s success depends on effective implementation, monitoring, and adjustments based on progress and emerging challenges.

·           Sustainability is key. The plan emphasizes empowering individuals and communities to become self-sufficient, not solely reliant on aid, ensuring long-term poverty reduction.

·           Collaborative effort is essential. The government, private sector, civil society, and international partners all play crucial roles in implementing the plan and achieving its poverty reduction goals.

By addressing various aspects that contribute to poverty, the Gambia Recovery-Focused National Development Plan offers a promising pathway towards a future where all Gambians have the opportunity to thrive and escape the vicious cycle of poverty.

Appreciation

I would like to express my deepest appreciation to President Adama Barrow for the launch of The Gambia recovery-focused National Development Plan (NDP) 2023-2027. This comprehensive blueprint represents a critical and visionary step towards a brighter future for The Gambia.

The NDP addresses head-on the challenges that have held the nation back. Its focus on economic diversification, human capital development, good governance, and environmental sustainability offers a holistic path towards progress.

President Barrow’s leadership in championing this plan is commendable. His commitment to building a more prosperous, inclusive, and equitable Gambia inspires hope and optimism for all citizens.

On behalf of many grateful Gambians, I extend a heartfelt thank you to Mr Seedy Keita, Minister of Finance. His pivotal role as vice captain in launching the National Development Plan deserves our deepest appreciation.

As we celebrate the launch of the NDP, I recognise the crucial role of the Chief of Defence Staff, General MO Cham in creating a foundation of peace and stability upon which this ambitious plan can flourish.

His unwavering commitment to maintaining peace and security in The Gambia serves as the bedrock upon which our nation can build progress. Without a peaceful environment, the aspirations outlined in the NDP would remain distant dreams. His dedication to safeguarding our nation’s security allows us to focus on development with confidence.

We acknowledge and appreciate the collaborative spirit that brought forth the NDP. From civil society organisations to private sector leaders. Their diverse perspectives and contributions enriched the plan, ensuring it reflects the collective vision for The Gambia’s future. Their continued engagement and support will be vital in translating this vision into reality.

The Gambia’s path to recovery demands a united effort. With our president and finance minister leading the charge, our security guaranteed by the Chief of Defence Staff, and all stakeholders engaged and committed, we have the necessary ingredients for success.

Let us move forward with renewed unity, purpose, and determination. The Gambia recovery-focused National Development Plan is not just a document; it is a promise of a brighter future. Together, let us make this promise a reality, building a Gambia where peace, prosperity, and opportunity flourish for all.

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