Monday, February 20, 2012

Gambia: Insurers start weeklong awareness creation campaign

The Insurance Association of the Gambia (IAG) today, Monday, starts its annual weeklong sensitization campaign that seeks to further increase the general public’s understanding of insurance and insurance policies in order to lay foundation for building a trusting relationship between insurance providers and the public.
It’s the second edition of the Insurance Awareness Week which is part of IAG’s information, education and clarification programme that seeks to increase awareness of the public about the progress and benefits of The Gambia insurance industry.

Mr Henry Jawo, executive secretary of the IAG, said the insurance awareness week focuses attention on creating improved public relations and offers the general public the opportunity to be part of its educational activities from dynamic lectures and presentations on various issues about insurance in the country. 

Monday, February 13, 2012


A new World Bank report has revealed that African countries are losing out billions of dollars in potential trade earnings every year because of high trade barriers with neighboring countries.

A news release from the World Bank on Tuesday announcing the publication of the 191-page report entitled “De-Fragmenting Africa: Deepening Regional Trade Integration in Goods and Services” states that it is easier for Africa countries to trade with the rest of the world than among themselves. 
The report is published at a time when African leaders are calling for a continental free trade area by 2017 to boost trade within the continent. 

Barriers to intra-Africa trade include trade permits, export taxes, import licenses, and bans, all of which are persistent.

According to the new report, regional fragmentation could become even more costly for the continent as World Bank forecasts suggest that economic slowdown in the Eurozone could cut off Africa’s growth by up to 1.3 percentage points this year.


The 13 banks in The Gambia, competing for less than 25% of the country’s 1.8 million people, are undergoing some turbulent times as their profitability drops while non-performing loans increase, a report compiled by the International Monetary Fund has revealed.

“With 13 banks competing for a small customer base, competition is fierce resulting in narrow profit margins,” the IMF Country Report of the Gambia, given to local journalists in Banjul on Thursday, has stated.  “Non-performing loans have increased from 5 per cent of total loans and advance in 2005 to 14.5 per cent at end 2010.”

IMF Representative to The Gambia
Mr Meshack Tunee Tijorongo
Commercial banks in The Gambia are going though some touch time more than ever before as their loans and advances portfolio continue to swell while increasing sums of monies given out as loans to customers continue to remain as bad debts or non-performing loans, which are debts not likely to be paid, giving rise to banks losing millions of dalasis in profits.

Total earnings for the banking sector as a whole was negative in 2009, provision for loan losses increased and the level of non-performing loans also increased.


Momodou Sabally, an economist and author, has just published a new book entitled ‘The Way to Happiness: Inspirational Essays’.
Momodou Sabally
Sabally, who currently works as Budget Director at the Gambia’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, said the new book is a collection of inspirational essays that “is the culmination of more than ten years of writing.”
The essays cover a variety of material: self-help and motivational articles, commentaries on social issues, political discourse, and sports as well as his (Sabally’s) encounters with inspiring personalities like Barack Obama, drawing from their lessons for successful living.
Diverse as the subject matters may be, Sabally said they are all tied together in one thread and that is his desire to inspire individuals and society.

RECAPITALIZATION IN 2012: Banks to Increase Capital Requirement to D200 Million

The final round for the increment of capital requirement of banks operating in The Gambia is to take effect December this year, lest the bankers forget. 

The call for the increase of capital requirement started in 2008 when the Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG) issued a directive increasing the minimum capital of banks in two stages from D60 million to D150 million by end-December 2010 and to D200 million by end-December 2012.

By the time of the first deadline, December 2010, eight of the fourteen banks, then, were able to increase their capital requirement on time. Five of the six remaining banks did so at the eleventh hour when the Central Bank, through the Ministry of Finance, threatened to revoke the banking licence of any bank that would default in meeting the requirement.

Beware of “fake” Ganila in town

There are claims that some people involved in trading a particular type of tie and dye locally referred to as “Ganila” are selling the fake ones. 

Ganila is a very classic and expensive tie and dye and it is among the most respectable dress in town and people often wear it as a sign of prestige and wealth, said to have originated from Mali.

Tie and Dye seller negotiating price with some customer
Some local tie and dye (Chube) makers say due to the fact that many people associate Ganila with wealth and prestige, some traders are now “fooling” people by buying the ordinary local tie and dye and packaging it nicely to look like the real Ganila, and sell it at the same price as then original one.  However, some Ganila traders have denied this rumour and allegation.

Speaking to this reporter at the just concluded biennial trade fair held in December 2011 organised by the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) and held the Independent Stadium in Bakau, Jainaba Drammeh, who was exhibiting the local tie and dye stuff, said many Gambians would come to her stall asking whether her clothes were from Mali.  If she answered in the negative they would go, and say the price she charged for local tie and dye was expensive.  


As at end-December 2011, the value of The Gambia’s currency, the Dalasi, depreciated against all major international currencies, Central Bank Governor Amadou Colley revealed on Tuesday at the quarterly press conference of the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).
Governor Colley
Governor Colley said the Dalasi weakened against the US Dollar by 7.7 per cent, the Pound Sterling 6.9 per cent, and the Euro 8.8 per cent. 
Consumer price inflation, which measures changes in the price level of consumer goods and services purchased by households, depreciated to 4.4 per cent in December 2011, lower than the 5.8 per cent in December 2010.
However, according to Governor Colley, average inflation has declined, albeit slightly, to 4.8 per cent from 5.0 per cent in December 2010. 
Dalasi notes
Inflation, he said, is expected to remain in single digit in 2012 predicated on prudent implementation and fiscal policies as well as the easing of the global food prices.
Data from the Gambia Bureau of Statistics indicate that the Gambian economy grew by 5.4 per cent in 2011, slightly lower than the 5.5 per cent and 6.7 per cent in 2010 and 2009 respectively. 
Provisional data indicate an improved government fiscal position in 2011.  The country’s revenue and grants increased from D5.0 billion in 2010 to D5.2 billion in 2011, equivalent to 16.1 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is the total monetary value of all goods and services produced domestically in the country over a specified period. 
Domestic revenue, comprising tax and non-tax revenue, also rose to D4.2 billion representing 6.9 per cent of GDP.