The Gambian economy is expected to recover from its 2016 slowdown as tourism and agriculture register a modest growth from the year earlier, Ruby Randall, the International Monetary Fund country representative told journalists.
Randall, who is the new IMF country rep, said the economic outlook of the country appears favourable.
“The economic outlook looks favourable. The tourism sector is rebounding and agriculture has recovered, reasonably,” she said at a luncheon with journalist.
“This lean season is actually the most favourable lean season in five years… So already, we have seen that tourism is rebounding… We also have evidence, talking to some key players in the private sector, we are hearing that the bookings for the peak season are very encouraging.”
Randall said the medium-term growth of the country is forecast at 5%.
The luncheon with the members of the press was the first with the new IMF rep meant to discuss matters surrounding the financial institution’s work as well as issues within the domestic economy.
IMF projection has shown that the political turmoil following the elections in December 2016 is expected to reduce tourism receipts in the first quarter of 2017 by about one third, and higher fuel and commodity prices put further strain on the balance of payments.
“Over the medium to longer term, The Gambia’s growth is expected to move to a higher growth trajectory,” the IMF stated.
“While The Gambia has experienced growth episodes of 6 to 7 percent over the past 20 years, growth has been volatile due to weather related shocks, economic mismanagement and corruption of the previous regime, with average growth of 3.6 percent over that period.”
The Gambian economy currently faces a huge debt distress at 120%, way higher than Senegal’s 57%, Guinea Bissau’s 46%, Mali’s 31% and Ecowas’s 29% regional average.