Wednesday, October 29, 2014

BAJ Gambia Director of Programmes off to France

BAJ Gambia Director of Programmes

Mamadou Edrisa Njie, Director of Progreammes at Biodiversity Action Journalists Gambia (BAJ Gambia), a professional media advocacy and research organisation, has left Banjul for Paris, France to attend the 3rd International conference on Biodiversity and United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), at the invitation of the organising committee.
This conference is the third in a series organized by the French CNRS Institut Ecologie et Environnement (InEE) and the German Leibniz Association (WGL).  It will take place from the 29th to 31st October, 2014 in Aix-en-Provence in France. 

The conference will focus on the theme 'Biodiversity and Food Security, from trade-offs synergies'.

The conference will be opened with a keynote presentation given by Professor José Sarukhán, UNAM, México, and closed by a keynote presentation by Professor Jacqueline McGlade, UNEP, Nairobi, Kenya.

The purpose of the conference is to discuss the inter-dependencies between biodiversity and food security under ecological, economic and societal challenges, to strengthen a holistic understanding of the related topics and to overcome trade-offs by developing synergies.

Speaking to reporters shortly before his departure, Mr Njie said the conference is intended for a broad and multi-disciplinary community of scientists from basic and applied research, involving also policy-makers and other stakeholders concerned with various field of relevant biodiversity and food security.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Continental Reinsurance poise to bridge knowledge gap in Gambian reinsurance market

Cross-section of the participants

Continental Reinsurance Corporation, the largest private reinsurance company in Africa (apart from South Africa), on Monday started a two-day training on non-life reinsurance.  The training is specifically designed to increase and improve the knowledge and skills gap in non-life reinsurance in The Gambia insurance industry.

The Nigeria-based pan-African company organized the training in collaboration with Insurance Association of The Gambia (IAG) and it is underway at the Sea View Hotel in Kololi.

Speaking on the occasion, Pa Alieu Sillah, Commissioner of Insurance at the Central Bank of The Gambia, said the training demonstrates the strong ties between Nigeria and The Gambia and it is part of efforts to develop the financial systems in Ecowas.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Dutch family sponsors new school in Gambia

Genny Dunnink and her family in the Netherlands are contributing to The Gambia government’s goal of  
‘education for all’ by making early childhood education accessible to the children.

Genny Dunnink speaking of her family's sponsorship
The family has sponsored a new school in Wellingara called Reach Education Centre.  The centre was recently inaugurated at a colorful ceremony attended by Genny on behalf of her family and others such as the founder of Gambia Speelt Mee foundation, Bert Min.

Speaking on the occasion, the headmistress of the centre, Mrs Patience Jatta, said the centre, which is a nursery school as of now, was opened in September 2013 for registration of children.

She said within a short period of time, a good number of children registered with the school.  

At the moment, there are about 80 children enrolled at the school.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Is social media the next gold mine for Gambian youth?

The story of Mamadou Edrisa Njie
Mamadou Edrisa Njie, social media activist

If someone had told me that a few years ago that using the social media will one day land me a job, I would have totally disagree with that person, be it an expert, a researcher or a fortuneteller. In fact, this wasn’t because I didn’t know what social media was all about but mainly because I was ONLY passionately on Facebook to chat with friends with some that I don’t know.

Here I am; I have signed a six month-contract with one of the best IT Service Providers in The Gambia to be its “Social Media Administrator”. A post I only knew existed during the signing of the contract.

Being born and brought up in the rural community of The Gambia where young people trek several kilometers to access internet to use the social media like Facebook and Skype, today, I count myself as one of the luckiest to have had the opportunity to access social media anytime, anywhere with my  IPAD provided by Global Youth InnovationNetwork (GYIN) International.

Training counts a lot in life and it is the turn-key to potential opportunities, with great thanks to the InternationalFund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Communications Division, me and some colleagues were given practical training on social media on how to use Twitter, Google+, blog post and LinkedIn. I was particularly excited for this training opportunity and as a result, today I am a very happy young digitally connected person.  
My sincere gratitude and appreciations goes to Moses Abukari (IFAD Country Programme Manager for The Gambia) who first help me to use an IPAD and encouraged me to be sharing agricultural and rural development stories focusing on rural youth; to Roxanna Samii (IFAD Manager Web, Knowledge and Internal Communication) and Roxy for exposing me to more social media (twitter, Google+, LinkedIn) at a training organized by GYIN Gambia for Gambian journalists, bloggers and online reporters at the Kairaba Beach Hotel prior to the IFAD 7th Regional Forum in Banjul in November 2012. Since then, I regularly participate in major public events and share information on social media platforms.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Insurers met to review achievements, constraints

Captains of The Gambia insurance industry
Top brass of the insurance companies in the country has converged at a local hotel in Kololi on Saturday to review the achievements of their association as well as the constraints that may hinder its progress in 2013.
It was the 26th annual general meeting of the Insurance Association of The Gambia (IAG) during which senior insurance practitioners from various companies noted that the insurance industry has made modest progress in the year under review.  They also pointed out that the industry continued to be faced with challenges like unhealthy competition among companies which is hindering its growth.

Speaking on the occasion, the new president of the IAG, Almamy B Jobarteh, said his ambition is to gradually tackle the main challenges of the industry to enable to the insurance companies tap the fallow fertile areas in the market.

Mr Jobarteh, IAG President
“The Executive Committee (of the IAG), under my leadership, is convinced that one robust way of achieving this is to lobby for the establishment of a National Insurance Commission which would be the driving force for the growth of the insurance industry,” said Mr Jobarteh, who is also the managing director of Sunshine Insurance Company.

“This is a major project for our industry and I wish to call upon each and every one of us (the insurance practitioners) to put together all the necessary resources and efforts to ensure the realization of this project,” he added.

Already a position paper on the establishment of a National Insurance Commission for The Gambia has been prepared for presentation to the authorities.

Code of conduct for the industry

The IAG President, Mr Jobarteh, stated that another area that his executive would like to look into is the issue of the self-regulation and collaboration in practices especially in the area of underwriting and claims management. 

He said a code of conduct has been drafted and already reviewed by the Executive Committee (of the IAG) to address these concerns.  

The code of conduct is expected to take care of the unprofessional and unethical insurance practices that are partly responsible for the slow growth and development of The Gambia insurance industry.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Number of Gambians defaulting in repaying loans increased significantly

The number of people who took various kinds of loan from the banks in The Gambia and failed to pay has increased considerably in 2013, the Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG) says in a report.

The ratio of Non-performing loans (NPLs), loans given to customers which they failed to pay back, increased significantly, from 12.1 per cent in 2012 to 19 per cent in 2013, the quarterly report, released on Friday, of the Monetary Policy Committee of the CBG states.

The intense competition in the banking industry has left commercial banks in the country rocking the boat of bad debts.  This is due to unprecedented increased in lending to both the public and private sectors, which unfortunately led to increased risks of NPLs.

Vulnerable to bad debts

The International Monetary Fund’s mid-2010 report states that though the increased number of banks in The Gambia helped to fuel economic growth.

However, it says increased number of banks has also heralded intense competition among the banks, which makes them vulnerable to bad debts.

Greater risk

The managing director of Sky Bank Gambia, Akim Yusuf, has earlier on said the incidence of loan default is greater and intensive than even the competition, as a risk to the banking system.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Monies from foreign donors to Gambia government reduced significantly in 2013

US Dollar notes
Grants to The Gambia, moneys donated by multinational organisations and foreign governments, had reduced by more than D1 billion (about US$ 2,632,000) in 2013, statistics from Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG) has indicates.  

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the CBG states in its quarterly report, released on Friday, that grants (to The Gambia) declined significantly from D1.8 billion (US$  5, 260, 000) in 2012 to D725.1 million (US$ 2,000,000) in 2013.

The Committee has not given any reason for this negative development.  However, in 2013, President Jammeh abruptly withdrew The Gambia from the Commonwealth, and also cut diplomatic relations with Taiwan; an organization, and a country that used to donate to the country.

The MPC report states that provisional data on the execution of the 2013 budget show that total revenue and grants amounted to D5.9 billion (US$ 15, 790,000) , equivalent to 17.5 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  This total revenue is well below the target of D7.7 billion (US$ 21,056,000), or 20 per cent of the GDP.

This steep difference in the targeted total revenue and grants, and the amount realized is due to negative donor response from the country’s donor partners.

Former National Assembly Member for Basse, Hon. Sellu Bah, has earlier on said that The Gambia should not depend on grants to finance its economy.

”Let us work as a nation to ensure that we collect our domestic revenue to the letter to counter any negative response on grants,” Hon. Bah said.

“I think this [huge reduction in grants] would teach us a lesson,” he added.

Domestic revenue increase