Thursday, June 7, 2012

World Bank approves $6m grant for Gambia to ‘provide urgently needed assistance’


World Bank Board of Executive Directors has approved US$6 million for The Gambia in grant financing by the International Development Association (IDA) that will provide urgently needed assistance to address 2011 - 2012 national crop failure in the country.
 
According to a statement from the World Bank’s Dakar Office, the funds is part of Gambia First Economic Governance and Reform Grant and the first in a series of two such Development Policy Grants covering 2012 to 2013.

The initiative will support the implementation of the country's Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE), which aims at improving the living conditions of the Gambian population by implementing cross-cutting reforms to diversify the economy and thereby reduce its vulnerability to external shocks.

“The full impact of the lower-than-expected harvest in The Gambia is now becoming apparent,” says Vera Songwe, World Bank Country Director for Gambia, Senegal, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau and Mauritania.              


The grant will also help to tackle some of the policy reforms in The Gambia’s agricultural policy necessary to reduce the vulnerability of the sector.

With 60 per cent of the population dependent on agriculture, poverty and malnutrition are rising in the country.
It would be recalled that the Gambian government declared in March that it urgently needed US$23 million "to provide food, seeds, and fertilizer" to the farming population due to the 2011-2012 faming season drought resulting from severe crop failure and a corresponding soaring of food prices.

The Ministry of Agriculture had stated that the 2011 farming season post-harvest assessment indicated an over 70% reduction in total crop production.  

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