The Gambia and the United States of America entered into an agreement on Tuesday that will facilitate and expand both actual and potential development cooperation between the two countries.
The Development Objective Agreement will make it possible for the United States, through its Agency for International Development (USAID), to provide financial and technical assistance to support The Gambia’s effort to accelerate its development and modernization efforts, the US Embassy said in a press release.
The main objective of the Development Objective Agreement is to create a framework agreement that will enhance democracy, peace, stability and prosperity in The Gambia by strengthening rule of law-based governance, economic reform and liberalization, entrepreneurialism, and strengthening health and education services, the release said.
To this effect, USAID is committing $15 million over the next five years, subject to funding availability, with an initial focus on working collaboratively to strengthen the Gambian electoral system, citizen’s political freedoms, civil society, government fiscal management and transparency, and providing support to The Gambia’s rule of law-based justice system strengthening and reform efforts, the release said. The Agreement stipulates that this amount could be adjusted depending on various factors, such as needs on the ground, to include future additional areas of collaboration, the release added.
The Development Objective Agreement was signed at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Center by the Honorable Minister of Finance & Economic Affairs Mambury Njie, and USAID Mission Director Peter Trenchard.
At the event, Minister Nije said: “This agreement is significant as it will direct support to The Gambia’s national development plans of restoring good governance, respect for human rights, rule of law, and empowering citizens.”
U.S. Ambassador to The Gambia R. Carl Paschall remarked that, “This is a memorable day for our two countries, a tangible expression of our partnership and our commitment to democratic ideals, democratic development, and good governance.”
“This is a huge moment, because it has been decades since we have had a real, formal agreement between USAID and the government of The Gambia. We have had small programs that were limited in scope, but this agreement elevates our partnership to a new level. These first projects were designed by you, with the support of USAID,” said USAID mission Director Peter Trenchard. He remarked that the agreement “recognizes the progress that has been made and the U.S. Government support for these reforms.”