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President Jammeh on key sectors

Mar 29, 2011, 1:27 PM | Article By: Lamin B. Darboe

President Yahya Jammeh spoke recently on various sectors of the economy and development, when he opened 2011 legislative year, in a speech to the National Assembly.

Below we continue to highlight some parts of the President's address:

On Agriculture

President Jammeh said the main thrust of his Government in Agriculture sector is the attainment of not only food self sufficiently but becoming a major player in the Agricultural Export Market.

"This is the sector that can provide employment of hundreds of thousands of people across all walks of life in The Gambia and, as my Government is bent on eradicating involuntary poverty; this sector is the key towards achieving the goal of eradicating poverty i.e. poverty due to circumstances beyond one’s control," he said.

"My Government through the Ministry of Agriculture and in collaboration with the Taiwanese Agricultural Mission is putting under rice cultivation about 400,000 hectares over a period of five years," said Jammeh.

This has started since year 2009, he said, "and the objective is that even with an output/yield of one tonne of rice per hectare, once the entire four hundred thousand hectares are put under rice cultivation, we will produce more than what we can consume and can go into the export market". 

He also spoke of an animal feed plant nearing completion, which will be operational by the end of this year.

In addition, a flour mill will soon be established, to complement these efforts.

"It is hoped that once these two plants become operational, before the end of the year, Gambian livestock farmers would be given a new lease of life," he said.

He added that the government has launched the Gambia National Agricultural Investment Programme (GNAIP) 2011-2015. The project has the overall objective of harnessing growth in the agriculture and natural resources sector, and to increase food security, among others.

Fisheries Sector

 He noted the opportunities in the sector and development undertakings embarked upon by his government.

The President also spoke of the measures being taken to protect fish stocks, and training programmes offered to youths in the sector.

Health and Social Welfare

He said no nation can prosper and enjoy high living standards without maintaining a very healthy populace. He stressed that the health sector is as indispensable as Agriculture in the maintenance of high standards of living for all and non Gambians alike in the country.

"In fact, the notion of enjoying high standards of living includes enjoying very good health by the majority of citizenry.  It is also clear that no nation can enjoy better living standards without a sound health care system that is both qualitative and affordable by the greater majority of the population."

President Jammeh said that his government is committed to providing quality and affordable primary health care to all Gambians.

He also spoke on the many achievements registered in this sector over the years, as well as challenges faced. 

Basic and Secondary Education

He said that this sector will always be at the core of his government’s development agenda.

According to him, the Gross Enrollment Rate at the Early Childhood and Lower Basic levels reached 36 per cent and 88 per cent, while at Upper Basic and Secondary levels registered 66.2 per with the Madrasas contributing over 15 per cent towards these increases.

These are important gains for a country where the sky is the limit on the extent of support that would continue to be given to education, he said, adding that his Government through the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education will continue to be pre-occupied with delivering quality education in the areas of Early Childhood Development, Basic and Secondary Education, and Adult and Non-Formal Education.

He said, in 2011, the government will intensify its efforts towards improving literacy and numeracy skills of children in the early grades to lay the foundation for a comprehensive education framework while the 1992 Education Act, which has been guiding the operation of the education sector until now, will be revised and brought before the National Assembly this year for amendment.


President Jammeh went on to state that the Gambia is among the states participating in the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) project which is one of the many other projects with similar or complementary goals to support the Gambia’s e-communication and e-development drives into the 21st century. 

Government through the NRA continues to closely monitor progress on the various road projects throughout the Gambia, including the EC-funded roads and the Mandinaba-Soma roads project which already had 70 km of double surfacing from the Soma end, and is expected to be completed in September 2011. Work on the

Trans-Gambia Highway
, which had experienced some delay, especially on the Some Bamba Tenda stretch, has picked up in earnest with the revised date of completion set as November 2011.

On Energy

The Gambian leader highlighted the gains registered over the past years in the sector, asserting that he is not relenting in pursuit of his goal of ensuring that The Gambia attains full energy security in the shortest possible time, with greatest emphasis on clean renewable energy. President Jammeh revealed that, before the end of 2011, his government will commission an additional 22MW Generator set under the West Coast Region Electrification Project. This project, the Gambian leader said, will electrify for the first time 56 towns and villages from Kartong to Kalagi. With an additional 8MW under Phase II of the Rural Electrification Project (REP) and the upgrading, refurbishment and expansion of the transmission and distribution network under the USD 22Million Venezuela project to minimsie electricity losses, the entire Gambia will hopefully become an electrified city state and a model in Africa, President Jammeh told the gathering.

On Water and Sanitation

President Jammeh said his Government has partnered with key collaborators such as EU, IDB and UNICEF that has made it possible for 100 communities to benefit from pumping systems. President Jammeh said it is expected that, in 2011, some 95, 000 additional rural inhabitants will have access to safe drinking water through the sinking and construction of 100 boreholes and installation of solar powered reticulation systems in 18 large communities.

On Petroleum

The Gambian leader said the last quarter of 2010 has registered an important milestone for the successful acquisition of 2500 Square KM of D3 Seismic data acquired by the operation of two of our off-shore blocks at a cost of over USD13 Million; this has significantly increased our D3 Seismic database from 500 to 3000 square kilometers.

On Gender

President Jammeh said his government will this year table a bill on domestic gender-based violence to address issues such as rape and other domestic violence that go unpunished as a result of their not being reported. "With regards to interventions in support of the population dynamics of this country, plans are at an advanced stage for the conduct of the 2013 Population and Housing Census and Demographic and Health Survey," he said.

On Security

The President said his Government will also continue to give attention to greatly transforming the security services sector and improving the welfare of its workforce and, in 2011, Government through the Ministry of Interior will present the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance to Displaced Persons in Africa (called the Kampala Convention). "My Government's zero tolerance for crime, drugs and corruption will be strongly reinforced," he said, further promising that peace, security and stability of the Gambia will be maintained at any cost.

Regional Government and Lands

The President said his Government has recognised decentralization as a key driver to enhance service delivery to the people, and one that promotes democratization and good governance.

Foreign Affairs

The Gambian leader said his Government will continue with its open-door policy to all those that seek genuine friendship and the fostering of good bilateral cooperation and lasting relationship, based on the principles of neutrality, impartiality, non-interference and respect for international law, treaties and covenants.

"We will continue to participate in international fora and regularly provide briefs to the citizenry and others on our own Government's position on major international issues as they unfold."

He also said that they would not condone double standards, racism and exploitation. He said his government will continue to safeguard the interest of the people and Africa in its dealings with the outside world.

On Civil Service and Personnel Management

President Jammeh said that significant progress has been made in the implementation of the Civil Service Reform Strategy, adding that the strategy has now been transformed into tangible programs and projects, all fully costed with timelines and  roadmap.

Key sectors amongst the strategy plans are the economy that is linked to Vision 2020 and the execution of a robust performance management system within the Civil Service. In these efforts, President Jammeh said that plans are far advanced under the WB project to conduct a comprehensive grading review including revision of the schemes of services, allowances and a reform of the pension system.       


See next edition for our final report on the President’s 2011 Address to the National Assembly.