By Omar Bah
Lamin Manneh, a former staff of the African Development Bank, has alleged that the dismissals of former vice president Ousainu Darboe, finance minister Amadou Sanneh and government’s lack of credibility, affected the international community’s goodwill for The Gambia.
Manneh, who studied international and development management, translation and integration, spent 29 years at the Africa Development Bank, from 1990 to 2019. He specialises in development management and regional integration which covers infrastructure, human development, political commitments and regional economic communities etc. Manneh was in charge of all regional economic communities in Africa dealing with the aids recognised by the African Union.
The retired international civil servant told The Standard recently that during his time at the Africa Development Bank, he was fortunate to meet Ousainu Darboe and Amadou Sanneh when they were both serving in government.
“They did a lot of good work for the Gambia because they helped the country to move its agenda after 22 years of hardship. The Gambia was in debt distress and there was no way the new government was going to be able to run with that debt. They came to the Africa Development Bank and we worked with other development finance institutions and put together a package for debt forgiveness for the Gambia,” Manneh, a sympathizer of the opposition UDP, said.
Manneh said there was “a lot of goodwill for the country because it managed to topple a dictatorship without any bloodshed or civil unrest. So, because of that, everybody wanted to help The Gambia”.
“We managed to succeed in getting debt forgiveness for the Gambia and we had a roundtable to put money on the table for the Gambia. The AfDB, European Investment Bank, IMF, World Bank and other sources,” he said.
However, Manneh added: “In addition, there were so many commitments but those commitments are based on the credibility of the government, the people who run it and the projects that are implemented. They had promised a lot of reforms – civil service reforms, security sector reforms and political reforms, etc. That was very appealing to the international community particularly multilateral development banks but unfortunately after a few times the credible people who were in government who gave us the reassurance to be able to continue working for and with the Gambia were thrown out of government and people who were mostly armatures were appointed to replace them.
“That did not help the international community involvement in the Gambia and because of this, most of the pledges were not dispatched. So, The Gambia is back to debt distress status and all need to get onboard to change the situation,” Manneh added.
He said the way the country is going “we cannot just fold our hands and sit in our corners because this country belongs to all of us”.