Jun 26, 2008, 6:30 AM
A nine-day training of stakeholders on 10th European Development Fund (EDF) procedures kick-started yesterday at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Senegambia.
Speaking on the occasion, Mod A.K. Secka, deputy National Authorising Officer of the National Authorising Officer Support Unit (NAOSU), applauded the participants for attending the training. He described their presence as a manifestation of the importance of the Gambia-EU cooperation and a commitment on the part of their respective organisations to grow the relationship between the two parties.
“The European Union is one of The Gambia’s principal development partners while the Gambia-EU cooperation over the past decades has been steadily growing and mutually benefiting,” he said.
Mr Secka said a number of initiatives have been undertaken under this cooperation that have enhanced the economic development of The Gambia and her people.
He noted that the EU has funded huge capital intensive projects in the areas of water supply, transportation, rural development and livelihood enhancement, direct poverty reduction programmes, among others.
“This training is important in many respects; first it provides us the opportunity as stakeholders of the Gambia-EU cooperation to engage more closely with a view to comprehending and improving our requirements for implementing, reporting, monitoring and evaluating EU-funded projects that are being implemented or about to start by our various organizations.”
He further stated that the forum can be used as a platform to share ideas, best practices and challenges with implementing organizations.
Mr Secka praised the timeliness of the training and its ability to enhance the capacity of the government, its ministries, departments and agencies, as well as non-state actors, to improve the performance of the Gambia-EU cooperation towards the realisation of the aspiration of the PRSP II, the MDGs and Vision 2020.
According to him, during the training, participants will be exposed to management best practices, programming and financing, procurement of services and works, basic rules applicable to grants, call for proposals, co-financing among a host of other interesting and useful topics.
He called on the participants to make use of the distinguished expertise of the trainers from Austria whilst thanking the EU for funding the training programme.
Mod Secka also registered the Gambia government’s commitment to strengthening the long fruitful relationship between The Gambia and the EU.
For her part, the EU delegation representative to Banjul, Nicola Neuss, commended the NAOSU for organising the training.
“The EU observes strict rules in managing public finances and all of us (participants) can benefit from learning the rules and procedures for managing programmes under the 10th EDF,” she said.
“Sound procurement and contracting, good public accounting and transparency are important aspects of good governance which can help build the trust between government and its people. This is particularly important in the current global economic situation where people want to know how their hard earned money is being spent by governments.”
Anthony Kutu Acheampong, training facilitator from Human Dynamic, Austria, said the cardinal objectives of the training include getting an overview of the 10th EDF, understanding the workflow and related responsibilities, finding participants’ way in the 10th EDF procedures, operations, instruments and guides and understanding why procedures are important for organizations and governments.