By Landing Ceesay
The Gambia and the World Bank have signed a $68 Million tourism development grant.
Hon. Seedy Keita Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs said the grant is geared towards addressing the critical role tourism plays in the economy, and the envelope determines the relevance and the importance of the sector to the economy.
He said the investment financing has an implementation period of five years to diversify the tourism sector and support the climate-resilient tourism industry.
“The project will cover improvement and compliance standards and also collect news data to ensure evidence-based strategic planning, marketing and branding of tourism in the Gambia. Additionally, infrastructure support for diversification by way of protecting and rehabilitating the management of the coastal areas is another key segment of the project,” he said.
The Finance Minister further stated that they are sure the design of the project would address most of the vulnerable segments that are adversely affected by the pandemic and the resultant effect would be an increase in youth employment in particular.
Meanwhile, Mr. Axel van Trotsenburg, the World Bank’s Director of Operations said the signing is important for them, and it is another indication of a “very strong” programme they have been able to develop with the Gambia over the last couple of years.
“Clearly, we see our relationship in the long term to accompany the Gambia to all its development aspirations. Particularly, the last couple of years have been very intense in terms of collaboration and also accumulated in the large financial program that was just signed. I think this is a good demonstration of a couple of things. First of all is a strong partnership and also the alignment of ideas advancing all the development aspirations of the country,” he said.
Mr. Axel van Trotsenburg, added that the Gambia is celebrating its 55th anniversary of being a member of the World Bank.
The signing took place at the State House earlier Tuesday during the World Bank Group’s Managing Director of Operations, Mr. Axel van Trotsenburg’s visit to President Adama Barrow.
Mr. Axel van Trotsenburg is in the country to visit the bank’s financed projects in the Gambia as well.
The World Bank said its active portfolio in The Gambia comprises nine national projects, amounting to $405 million; adding that the Gambia also participates in three regional projects amounting to $125 million.