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Our economy: dark clouds in the horizon

Nov 27, 2014, 10:22 AM

The quarterly report of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of The Gambia, released on Tuesday, has painted a bleak picture of The Gambia’s economy.

The report says the domestic growth outlook for 2014 remains weak as a result of inadequate rainfall which affected our rain-dependent agricultural sector, and the Ebola palaver that is affecting the tourism sector.

The growth of these two sectors is inevitable if the country as a whole is to develop. If they are affected, the whole the country is affected.

To start with, agriculture is the most important sector in The Gambian economy as it contributes the highest percentage of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), at least 30%.

About 70 per cent of the population of 1.8 million depends on agriculture for food and income.It is also the primary means of income creation for the majority of rural families and accounts for 70% of the country’s foreign exchange earnings.

These are some of the reasons the sector is referred to as “the backbone of Gambian economy”.

But now the backbone is about to be broken for lack of lubrication – lack of rainfall.

In addition, tourism, which has become the fastest-growing sector of the economy, is also in staggering state.

The sector contributes 16% to the country’s GDP and provides employment for over 100,000 Gambians, directly and indirectly.

Some statistics say the sector fetches the country about US$50 million in foreign exchange, annually.

In any case, tourism is very important to the Gambian economy as it provides lots of jobs, income, and foreign exchange, which are desperately needed by the country.

These two very important sectors of our economy are advancing into the woods, as there is no promise that the rain will be reliable and stable in future, and the Ebola which is also prone to affecting tourism, is here with us in the sub-region, at least for now.

Already some have started feeling the pinch of this dark cloud created by the dwindling of these two giant sectors of our economy, and those who are yet to feel it may start to experience it very soon.

So we should all tighten our belts for this dark cloud, as it might not be easy to weather the storm.

“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

Ronald Reagan