Gambia to benefit from U.K. overseas aid budget

Nov 24, 2020, 11:08 AM | Article By: Alhagie Mbye, The Point’s Europe Correspondent

As the fiery debate regarding overseas aid budgets and funds across Europe rages due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the Point has learnt that ‘‘The Gambia, would continue to benefit from such aid and support due to the country’s longstanding partnership and shared objectives with the UK as well as the current government’s acceptance and adherence to democratic norms’’.  

Presently, nations across Europe are debating intensely whether to continue, reduce or totally eliminate the amount of cash meant for poorest nations across the world thus prompting nationalists and far right parties rebuking and criticising the ‘‘logic behind the continued support neglecting citizens in favour of outsiders...’’.   

Meanwhile, the UK treasury is reportedly planning to slash or reduce hundreds of millions of Pounds from the overseas budget resulting in religious leaders and NGOs sending protest letters to that effect.  

Responding to enquiries from this correspondent, a UK government official familiar with the issue, maintained that ‘‘UK is helping the world’s poorest people change their lives…and people should be proud of such contributions’’.  

The official added firmly that ‘‘The Gambia, is a priority’’.  

Nonetheless, the importance and significance of the debate also prompted respected religious leaders and politicians to intervene.  

Already Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury is passionately appealing to the UK government not to cut the overseas aid budget despite both the ‘‘current deficit and the Covid 19 pandemic’’.  

The Archbishop who is well known for supporting and backing several African countries during difficult periods, emphasised the importance of such funding from the UK as a ‘‘reliable partner for long-term economic, social, environmental and educational advancement across the globe’’.  

Former UK Premiers Tony Blair and David Cameron have also publicly appealed to the current Prime Minister Boris Johnson that cutting the overseas budget is a ‘‘moral, strategic and political mistake…It would not only undermine UK’s G7 Presidency next year but also would cost lives’’.  

It is important to note that currently the issue regarding such budget cuts is overwhelmingly popular in Europe especially in countries where there is no legal justification or backing for such support.

However, there is legislation in the UK protecting the so called ‘‘0.7 % target’’ but certain prominent officials acknowledged the goal or objective might not be continued thus calling for a ‘‘rethink’’.  

Meanwhile certain Diaspora activists across Europe are equally urging their governments to stop the ‘‘begging syndrome in maintaining their fragile economics but instead to rely and cooperate within themselves in order to sustain and uplift the lives of their own people.