Country Strategic Programme draft document validated

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Country Strategic Opportunities Programme (COSOP) 2019-2024 draft document, which seeks to define IFAD engagement in The Gambia and supports government’s new vision for the coming years, was recently validated at a hotel in Senegambia.

The document is being spearheaded by Agricultural Land and Water Management Development Project (NEMA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and other stakeholders. The validation forum was graced by IFAD country program manager, ministers of Finance and Agriculture and senior government officials.

The minister of Agriculture, Lamin Dibba said the goal of COSOP is to contribute to poverty reduction, food security and youth employment as well as help in achieving key Sustainable Development Gaols.

COSOP, he said, is a five-year development and partnership framework between the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of The Gambia.

Minister Dibba indicated that the validation would allow both the government and IFAD to reaffirm their commitments to the partnership as they usher in a new COSOP cycle since the expiration of the last COSOP in 2012.

 He thus called on stakeholders to participate in the implementation process so as to help in achieving their set target goals. “The government will rapidly mobilize policies and sustainable sectoral policies and rural development initiatives.”

Also speaking, Mamburay Njie, Finance and Economic Affairs acknowledged that IFAD has been a reliable partner of The Gambia since 1982 and has financed projects worth 12, 33 million US Dollar in additional co-financing from other development partners.

Minister Njie noted that The Gambia government along with its partners have rolled out a National Development Plan 2018 -2021 in which agriculture sector is a key priority, accounting for approximately 20 percent of budgetary allocation.

The expected financial envelop for COSOP programme, he added, is approximately 20M US dollar between 2019 and 2021, with an identical allocation for the following three-year period.

“Lending terms are 50 percent highly concessional loan and 50 percent debt sustainable grant.”

Hawa Sinetaa, country program manager of IFAD said agriculture is one of the main drivers for economic growth, job creation for youth and women and poverty reduction in The Gambia, saying 48.65% of poor rural Gambians depends on agriculture for their livelihood and income.

She said COSOP was designed under a new decentralized IFAD programme, noting that the programme under COSOP would work primarily in the swamp rice and horticultural value chain areas, where the overwhelming majority of farmers are women.

Author: Fatoumatta Comma