Gambia scores big in latest World Bank, Freedom House rankings

Monday, November 19, 2018
The Government of The Gambia has been favourably rated in almost all aspects of political and economic governance in studies supported by fourteen renowned global political and financial institutions, including the IMF, World Bank, and Freedom House. The scorecard shows that The Gambia is deemed to be strongly adhering to the principles of good governance, promotion of democratic rights and economic freedom, and investing in the social welfare and well-being of The Gambian people. The rating on The Gambia was revealed in a multi-sectoral scorecard by the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Economic Organisation, Brookings Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)/IFC, Freedom House/CLD, WHO, UNESCO, UNICEF and CIESIN/YCELP. The Gambia was rated 65% and above in more than half of the twenty indicators used. The scorecard, which covers the 2019 fiscal year, reveals that the Barrow government made significant gains in controlling corruption, respecting and guaranteeing democratic rights and investing in the health and well-being of citizens, particularly children. The most significant score was registered in the areas of health expenditure, government effectiveness, rule of law and regulatory efficiency, marking 91%, 78%, 78%, and 80% respectively.
The Barrow government is ensuring that it is ruling justly to put the country on the right footing in protecting political rights, control of corruption, standing firm for effective governance and respect for the rule of law. In a press release dispatched to media houses, Office of the President stated that Government continues to strive to provide for the needs and aspirations of a population of over two million (2,101,000) with a gross national index per capita of $450. “The scorecard shows that the government performed strongly in the area of economic freedom by controlling inflation, providing a quality regulatory environment, mainstreaming gender in the economy and preserving land rights. The country has also been rated high in investing in its people with 91% and 63% for its health and primary school education expenditures, respectively. The rate of immunization coverage has been pegged at 76%, child health at 69%, and girls’ primary school education completion at 51%. The gender outlook regarding completion of girls’ education is positive. This could be further associated with expenditure in primary school education and the advocacy by government and civil society to protect and promote the rights of girl-child. “The advocacy against harmful traditional practices, such as early marriage, female genital mutilation and sexual abuse, backed by strong government support, is key to providing protective environment for girls in particular; thus creating the environment for girls to complete their primary education,” the release stated. However, on the economic front, the country would endeavor to improve its fiscal and trade policies as well as provide opportunities for access to credit and business start-ups. This could be related to the number of young people who find it difficult to have collateral to access loan and initiate their own business. The number of irregular migration returnees and limited number of young Gambians in unskilled areas has impacted the access to credit and business start-ups. Government Spokesperson’s response following the release of the rating, government spokesperson Ebrima G. Sankareh said: “Office of the President highly welcomes the progressive facts displayed by the scorecard. It is a big vote of confidence in the Barrow government by world renowned independent financial and political institutions.” He said most importantly, the scorecard highlights the seriousness of the Barrow government to meaningfully transform the lives and livelihood of all Gambians, saying, “Although we are highly encouraged by the findings, we are equally humbled and fired-up to never relent in delivering beyond the expectations of all and sundry in The Gambia.” He said using the National Development Plan, the Barrow government would continue to implement progressive and effective economic and political policies that would bring real changes in the lives of ordinary Gambians.
Regarding the gap in access to information, spokesperson Sankareh said Office of the President is quite optimistic that the new Information and Communication Act being drafted would address some of the challenges. He said it is expected that with more civic education, people would understand their rights and responsibilities in a democracy. “In the area of protecting our natural resources, the government has put in place legal mechanisms, among others, to protect our natural resources from corporate overreach. Nevertheless, efforts would be made to improve enforcement.” Sankareh said Office of the President urges all Gambians to remain determined and work positively towards achieving good governance and accountability, social cohesion and national reconciliation, and a transformed economy for the well-being of all Gambians as stated in the National Development Plan 2018-2021. In the same vein, we encourage commercial banks to work with young people to support start-up businesses.