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Finance Minister says poverty rate in Gambia declines to 36%

Oct 27, 2014, 10:47 AM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

The Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Kebba Touray, has said the overall poverty rate in The Gambia had declined steadilyby about 10 percentage points to 48.4% in 2010 and it was estimated to decline to 36 percent in 2013.

The Finance minister announced this in a statement delivered at the commemoration of the 69th anniversary of the UN, held at Kairaba Beach Hotel on Friday.

According to Hon. Touray, in education, the population of pupils starting Grade 1 reached 95.3% in 2011, and the country is set to achieve the MDG target of 100% by 2015.

“This development also parallels our achievements in the area of health, where child mortality indicators have now surpassed MDG targets according to the latest Demographic Health Survey (2013),” he said.

In 2012, The Gambia noted a historic event with the passing into law of a comprehensive National Women’s Act that aims to address underlying issues of violence against women, economic empowerment, political participation and leadership for women.

On peace and security, Minister Touray said The Gambia continues to contribute troops in peacekeeping operations with a dedication to the restoration of peace and stability to many fragile states around the world.

“Our peacekeepers are separating warring parties and supporting peace consolidation efforts in conflict zones,” he said.

“We take great pride in upholding the doctrine of peace not just an objective inherited in the UN Charter, but also as a core value.

“On terrorism, The Gambia stands firm and uncompromising and joins the rest of the world in condemning the inhumane acts of terrorism perpetrated in the name of religion.”

The Finance minister further stated that The Gambia maintains a zero tolerance policy for such acts of violence, in addition to strict local laws.

“We have also ratified key UN Security Council Resolutions on Counter Terrorism,” he said. On humanitarian interventions and support, Minister Touray continued: “I wish to state that The Gambia has demonstrated concern matched by financial support to the Ebola-affected countries of Guinea and Sierra Leone.”

The Gambia “calls on the world to stand up to this deadly disease,” minister Touray added.

“The virus has already become a global citizen and the untold economic and health consequence is already being felt by even the Ebola-free countries let alone the affected countries ones,” the minister went on.

“The Gambia welcomes the decision of the UN SG to appoint a special envoy on Ebola.”

The Finance minister stated the Gambia government’s unreserved association with this year’s UN theme - “Youth: A Valuable Partner in Improving Food Security and Reducing Poverty - as it falls in line with The Gambia’s national development agenda.

“The Gambia is sharply focused on the agenda of youth participation and food security, as evidenced by the recent proclamation and shared Vision 2016 by His Excellency the President, Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya A.J.J Jammeh Babili Mansa, which is to attain food self-sufficiency by 2016,” he said.

The country had made remarkable strides in improving food security, he added.

Minister Touray on behalf of the government and the people of The Gambia commended the UN Family on the special day, and assured them of The Gambia’s continued commitment to work with the United Nations to bringing about a just and secure world where everyone shares in the abundant prosperity it offers.