Foreward | Executive Summary | Overview | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Conclusion
Part 3: STRATEGIC ISSUES
The moulding or attitudes to fit in with The Gambia Inc.... Vision 2020 calls for a gradual shift from the concept of Government as an alien and remote machinery (mansa kunda) to one that is at the service of all and owned by all. Through public information and communication programmes aimed at the education of people on their ownership of and entitlement to the nation's wealth, the Government shall incite more care and effective participation in the maintenance and upkeep of the nations resources and materials. Furthermore, the on going civic education campaign, particularly with regards to the Constitution and the Institutions of Government shall be integrated into the curriculum of all schools. Finally, the reinforcement of the entrepreneurial disciplines in school curricula shall encourage a more business-oriented population to seize opportunities created under Vision 2020.
In line with the current liberalisation policy, Government shall reinforce the present liberal and market oriented policies in prices, exchange and payment mechanisms and shall adopt an aggressive approach to export promotion. Efforts shall be made to raise savings and investment ratios through financial deepening in order to stimulate economic growth. The Public Investment Programme shall introduce new and innovative financing for infrastructure and the development of Human Resources.
Simultaneously, institutional and public resource management capacities, shall be reinforced through better accounting, auditing and budgeting practises. This is in line with the greater accountability and transparency that is to be expected of a growing and responsible private sector in the development process. In this regard, major efforts shall go into improving economic and financial reporting standards in both public and private sectors entities.
Through a better management of our Economic Information System, Government shall guarantee a firm and strong currency, while maintaining real interest rate at sufficiently positive levels to incite investor interest in the Dalasi as a viable asset. The management of the public sector deficit and its financing shall at all times be focused on ensuring non-inflationary tendencies through a careful monitoring and control of expenditure and enhancement of revenue mobilisation.
The convertibility of the Dalasi and its subsequent use within and beyond the region shall be maintained. The Gambia shall continue to be current on both domestic and foreign contractual obligations by strengthening its public debt management functions and capabilities.
Another challenge for macro-economic policy is to ensure a greater insertion of The Gambia into the sub-regional economy by assuming a leading role in regional integration efforts. The harmonisation of monetary and fiscal policies that is subsumed in the activation of the West African Monetary Agency implies a continuous reappraisal of macro-economic policies.
The progressively changing demography demands not only a continuous appraisal of existing farm systems and technologies but also accelerated adaptation for greater productivity. The dissemination and adoption at the farm level, of appropriate technology shall enhance the capacity of the sector to continuously produce an expanded output. Research and Development is therefore necessary but this cannot be done unless a coherent national agricultural policy and the requisite infrastructure is put in place. Consequently in the search for comprehensive problem solving methodologies in the management of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Sector, a National debate is envisaged in the very near future as a first step for continuous research in this area.
Effective research and development, shall require a diversified infrastructure to reflect the disparities between regions, products, upland against lowland rice, food versus cash and export crops, agro- processing, packaging and optional land use for the present Gambia Co-operative Union, producer associations shall be introduced and strategies for the improvement of the welfare of their members shall be implemented. Capacities shall be built at the group level through training, adapting technologies and overall, addressing the daily problems of managing farms as business entities. Direct investment into agricultural shall be encouraged to enhance a modernisation of the sector geared towards exports and food security. Special focus shall be granted to peri-urban agriculture as a launching pad for greater commercialisation of the sector.
3.4 HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT
Through reviews, workshops and other communication media, a thorough diagnosis of the strengths and weaknesses in the ANR sector, as relates to human resources, shall be a continuous process. Programmes shall then be tailored to respond to inefficiencies and
Shortcomings diagnosed in order to ensure appropriate training and ready response to all constraints in the sector, while encouraging a more commercial approach to the use of produce.
3.5 FOOD SECURITY
The prevailing high population growth rate, environmental degradation and rural-urban migration aggravate the sustainability of the current food production strategy. Under Vision 2020, emphasis shall be put on the transfer of appropriate technologies to the farming communities to enhance their capacities to improve productivity and ensure
Production and processing of adequate food supplies and increase household income. Adequate infrastructure including feeder road networks shall be provided. The private sector shall be encouraged to take advantage of the public sector facilities by investing in transport, processing and marketing activities.
Efforts shall be made to develop rural financial markets to encourage local participation (eg producer groups, private dealers, input suppliers) in the operations of a diversified agro-industrial base. To mitigate the effects of drought and famine, an early warning and Food Information System (FIS) shall be established. Furthermore, a national strategy for the conservation and utilisation of plant and animal (particularly indigenous) genetic resources shall be established to sustain the bio-diversity of the flora and fauna. A long-term plan for the prevention and control of trans-boundary plant and animal pests and diseases shall also be elaborated and implemented. In the same vein, there shall be increased surveillance and control of territorial waters, an expansion of fish farming and aqua-culture and the control of disease and trawling methods in fishing. More emphasis shall be put on meat processing, the generation of dairy products, the processing of crops, fruits and vegetables in a bid to enhance food security.
Programmes aimed at modernising the financial sector shall, as envisaged, ensure a constant flow of credit into the manufacturing sector to assist in boosting the demography of the sector. At the same time, the implementation of sound and prudent fiscal and monetary policies shall ensure positive real interest rates, a conservative Government budgeting, a stable real effective exchange rate and high savings. These conditions for attracting direct investment in industry shall be buttressed by a well-trained labour supply, a deregulated labour market, a liberal trade regime for exports. In this manner, The Gambia can gain and consolidate a sustainable competitive advantage in manufacturing activities within the Vision time frame.
At the same time, institutional support services shall reduce the mortality rate of manufacturing units while encouraging a spatial distribution of such units between the rural and urban areas. Further processing of existing resources shall serve as a base for rural industrialisation while more time-sensitive activities in light manufacturing such as electronic assembly, textiles and telecommunications-based industries shall be located in and around the sea and air ports for export activity.
Building on the efficiency and productivity of the sea port, major expansions of infrastructure shall take place at the Port of Banjul. Through deregulation and the improvement of operations, the Port of Banjul, in partnership with private sector operators, investors and users shall continue to consolidate its present competitiveness while exploring new market opportunities, notably in the high-value areas of transhipment and distribution, teleport services and free zones.
The airport shall be expanded and security improved upon under present projects. Banjul International Airport shall expand its services in ground-handling and ancillary activities through joint ventures with operators in the air transport industry. Particularly, major market development actions shall be taken 10 increase traffic, reduce operating costs and maintain a constant rate of infrastructure expansion.
Over the Vision period, an intermodal transport network system, integrating road, sea, river and air transport, is envisaged to expand the passenger and cargo transport infrastructure at reasonable costs to the population.
More efforts shall be made to increase the number, quality and diversity of financial institutions through constant reviews of the banking legislation. The increase in numbers shall gradually introduce in the economy a greater variety of financial instruments to cater for both equity and loan financing for economic operators. For the former, the introduction of a Stock Exchange, of an appropriate size and scope, shall be accelerated through the floating of a minimum percentage of the shares of certain public enterprises. A stock market shall encourage more investment education, widen the spectrum of investment instruments available to investors, provide investment capital at a relatively low cost and reduce the exposure of firms to interest rate hikes by allowing for the replacement of debt financing by equity financing.
Non-bank financial institutions shall also be encouraged to locate in The Gambia, and like the banks, they can benefit from the network of trade and finance contacts already existing in the business community. The Gambia's off-shore legislation shall be marketed more vigorously to ensure a more finance-friendly off-shore modus operandi, while guaranteeing a prudent and effective regulatory system. In all, in this sector, a deregulation of operations shall be accompanied by an appropriate prudential and supervisory mechanism to ensure that international standards are offered to users of financial services, as the sector is gradually induced towards more off-shore operations both for banking and insurance services.
The restructured Gambia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agricultre shall take the lead in promoting domestic exports. The Gambia shall continue to defend its competitiveness in trade in the West Africa region and shall continue to explore market potentials and to tailor services to gain market share in growing markets. The adoption of the enterprise approach shall be reinforced, and special programmes shall promote targeted numbers of trading houses through the provision of technical co-operation and logistics. Networking systems shall be designed to facilitate the dissemination of assistance and human resource capacities to all operators in the trade sector. Quality controls shall be implemented to assure consumers of Gambian products high quality for each product group. Finally, awareness campaigns shall be launched to promote retailing as a source of employment and income for Gambians.
The primary purpose of ECOWAS being to integrate the sixteen West African markets for goods, capital and labour, The Gambia shall ensure full compliance with ECOWAS protocols while continuing to promote the principles of free and fair trade as well as the free movement of goods, capital and labour within the sub-region. To that end, particular attention shall be given to the implementation of the relevant ECOWAS Protocols.
Furthermore, Government shall continue to explore, together with The Gambia's trade partners, potentials for the expansion and improvement of trade and exchange as a corner stone of our foreign economic relations.
As a centre piece in the strive towards the development of our human capital base, basic education shall be provided up to Grade 9 for all enrolled pupils in our school system. More openings shall be made available for continuation of education after this level, into skills centres for students who do not wish to or are unable to continue into the academic stream. In parallel, adult education opportunities shall be created in addition to functional literacy programmes in the local languages.
The education sector shall progressively be called upon to put appropriate emphasis and priority in continuously investing in training infrastructure to produce a continuing stream of technicians in order to cater for a diversification of economic and social activities by the year 2020.
Based on our achievements in telecommunications, networking arrangements between the future University and Colleges on the one hand and foreign higher institutions of learning shall be established to produce the high quality academic and professional training required to dispense quality education and skills for a sustainable development.
Critical factors affecting population growth include a high fertility rate, a decreased rate of mortality and migration both within our borders and from neighbouring countries. Strategies to establish middle-sized households shall be formulated, through the National Population Programme in order to facilitate the capacity to generate enough income per inhabitant. Efforts shall continue to control migration from outside our borders whilst creating sufficient conditions for a proper integration of foreigners who are legal residents of The Gambia. Increased industrialisation and a spatial distribution of industry shall complement efforts to curb rural-urban migration.
Over the Vision period, programmes on housing and shelter-related development shall draw on the strategies recommended in the Habitat II initiative (1996) towards general improvement in housing conditions and environmental sanitation. In the context of a revised and updated National Housing Policy, the programmes shall also focus on the causes and consequences of expanding demography and rapid urbanisation, increasing quality housing production and enabling more regular replication of public housing projects towards satisfying the current national housing deficit. In this regard, priority shall be given to easing access to land for housing, improving on and encouraging the use of local building materials, addressing the manpower and technical limitations of the construction industry .The creation of housing banks, housing co-operatives and other institutions specialising in financing shelter-related development shall be encouraged.
11. THE PRIVATE SECTOR
The existing communal system of land tenure does not favour the use of land for commercial ventures and it constrains the access and legal title to land by women who constitute the bulk of the labour force in agriculture and the informal sector. Consequently, Government shall review existing legislations to deal with land transfers, favour legal titles to land in order to sustain commercially viable units in agriculture and industry while encouraging an efficient land use through the formulation of appropriate land development and planning policies.
The occurrences of disasters are a constant threat to a nation. Such disasters come in various forms, usually at great cost to lives and property. Government shall initiate disaster relief strategies and programmes to combat and alleviate the cost of such disasters when they do occur. In parallel, Government shall create an interagency Committee to devise and institutionalise response mechanisms to disasters, both environmental and health epidemics. Compensatory mechanisms shall be envisaged in order to share the costs among all strata of society. These measures shall complete the already established Gambia Environmental Action Plan.
The thrust of government;'s policy in this area shall focus on eradication of all forms of discrimination against women and children, the girl child in particular. Effort shall continue to be put into the formulation of a national Women Development policy as well as the implemendetion of Action programmes in the follow-up to the Beijing Women's Conference on Equality, Development and Peace.
Emphasis shall be placed on improving the enrolment of females in schools, full and productive participation in the economic, social and political development process as well as in decision-making at all levels. Attention shall also focus on equitable access to the necessary factors of production, such as land, credit, finance, technology, improvements in health, education, skills training, poverty and institutional support services. Vision 2020 also calls for partnership between women and men as well as mutual respect and understanding of issues pertaining to gender and development.
Children constitute a significant
proportion of The Gambia's population. In the context of Vision 2020,
attention shall focus on child survival, protection and development
programmes. Special attention will be given to children's rights, health,
education, cultural practices that impede their development as well
as the preservation of positive family values and culture.
Foreward | Executive Summary | Overview | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Conclusion