Tao Zhang, the deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement at the conclusion of his visit to The Gambia:
“My visit to The Gambia was extremely fruitful and informative, and I am grateful for the warm hospitality of the Gambian people.
“I wish to thank President Adama Barrow, Finance Minister Mambury Njie, and Central Bank Governor Bakary Jammeh for our constructive and substantive discussions. I commended President Barrow on his administration’s commitment to transparency, strong governance and the rule of law, which has helped to improve the business climate and boost investor confidence. I encouraged continued progress with the constitutional and judicial review process, the transitional justice reform agenda and emphasised the need to publish the Janneh Commission’s report expeditiously, to accelerate the recovery of stolen assets.
“In my talks with the Gambian authorities, I welcomed the credible turnaround in macroeconomic performance and the great strides toward fiscal probity. I also encouraged the authorities to consolidate these gains through strengthened revenue mobilisation, improved treasury management, and expenditure prioritisation and restraint. I also explained that creditor assurances of debt relief, continued fiscal prudence, and commitment to the reform of state-owned enterprises would be needed to transition to an IMF financial arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility.
“I was honored to meet with Parliamentarians to discuss strengthening their oversight function and with development and diplomatic partners to discuss donor coordination, given The Gambia’s intensive use of donor funding and capacity development resources. I delivered a public speech on “The Gambia’s Pathway to Prosperity,” which emphasised the importance of regional integration for The Gambia’s successful structural transformation.
“I also visited a number of sites that are playing a pivotal role in The Gambia’s efforts to deepen its outward orientation and strengthen its regional ties, notably, the Port of Banjul, which is seeking to expand and help reinvigorate The Gambia’s role in regional trade, Radville Farms, a private horticultural farm and large employer engaged in agricultural exports, and the recently completed Senegambia Bridge, connecting the northern and southern parts of The Gambia and Senegal and a vital link opening-up the sub-region to the Cairo-Lagos trade corridor.
“Finally, I visited The Gambia Organisation for the Visually Impaired which aims to train and integrate the visually impaired into Gambian Society. I was impressed by the determination and resilience of the organisation’s members, a symbol of the strength of The Gambia and its aspiration to prosperity.
“The IMF stands ready to continue assisting the Gambian authorities to achieve their national objectives.”