The European Union has announced that aid worth $240m will be granted to the new Gambian government.
This comes as newly-elected President Adama Barrow stated that the western African country was left “virtually bankrupt” by the former administration which was led by Yahya Jammeh. He added that his country is in need of immediate rescue.
The EU has a budget of $79.9 million which would be used in tackling food insecurity, unemployment, and bad road. An additional aid worth $159.8m. This comes two years after the organisation put a stop to granting aid to Gambia.
In 2014, the European Union put their aid to the Gambia on pause due to the gross human rights record of the previous administration.
Former President Yahya Jammeh was accused of torture, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detentions, as well as other human rights abuse by human rights watch. He was also accused of landgrab and forceful disappearance of opposition. As a result, when President Adama Barrow won the election, it was seen as a new chance for Gambia to wipe the slate clean and begin on a new page. The foreign Minister of Gambia echoed this sentiment by stating that human right records will be “speedily addressed” by Adama Barrow.
The EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica praised the Gambia for having a peaceful transition of power despite the circumstances. He further added that the EU is looking forward to engaging with President Adama Barrow and his new government.
At the signing of the aid deal, President Barrow said the Gambia had only just two months of foreign exchange reserves left.
“Most public enterprises are debt-ridden and underperforming including the energy sector,” he said.
Soon after the exile of Yahya Jammeh, Barrow’s adviser, Ahmad Fatty announced that about $11 million dollars was missing from Gambia’s coiffers.
“The visit is a clear signal of the EU’s readiness to provide immediate financial and technical support to the democratic process in The Gambia,” Neven Mimica told reporters following the signing of the aid worth $240m.