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Gambian Dalasi’s Value Drops 14.2% Compared to CFA in 2023

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 Buah Saidy, Governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia

By Buba Gagigo 

In the latest update from the quarterly Monetary Policy Committee Meeting, Central Bank Governor Buah Saidy disclosed that the Gambian Dalasi experienced a slight depreciation against major international currencies in 2023. Specifically, it depreciated against the US Dollar by 3.8 percent, Euro by 10.8 percent, GBP by 12.7 percent, and CFA by 14.2 percent.

Governor Saidy emphasized the Dalasi’s overall stability despite these modest depreciations. He highlighted that the Central Bank maintains robust international reserves, totaling US$475.3 million as of January 2024, sufficient to cover over 5 months of prospective imports.

“The Dalasi continues to be stable, depreciating only modestly year-on-year against major international trading currencies in 2023. It depreciated against the US Dollar by 3.8 percent, Euro by 10.8 percent, GBP by 12.7 percent and CFA by 14.2 percent. CBG continues to hold comfortable levels of international reserves amounting to US$475.3 million in January 2024, which is sufficient to finance over 5 months of prospective imports of goods and services,” he said.

The Central Bank governor further remarked that initial assessments of government fiscal activities suggested a reduction in the overall deficit (including grants) from D6.9 billion (5.7 percent of GDP) in 2022 to D4.4 billion (3.1 percent of GDP) in 2023. However, he noted that the overall budget deficit (excluding grants) expanded to D18.5 billion (12.9 percent of GDP) in 2023, compared to D15.3 billion (12.5 percent of GDP) the previous year.

“Total revenue and grants mobilized in 2023 amounted to D31.9 billion (22.2 percent of GDP), an increase of 39.4 percent compared to last year. The increase in the total revenue and grants mirrors the increase in both domestic revenue and grants. Total expenditure and net lending between 2022 and 2023 increased by 21.8 percent to stand at D36.3 billion (25.3 percent of GDP), from D29.8 billion (24.3 percent of GDP), driven by the increase in development expenditures that were largely externally financed,” he said.

The Central Bank governor disclosed that the government’s domestic debt increased by 8.4 percent, reaching D41.3 billion (equivalent to 29.4 percent of GDP) in 2023, compared to D38.1 billion (which was 31.7 percent of GDP) in 2022.

“This increase is explained mainly by the increased issuance of Treasury bills and medium-term government bonds to settle maturities and finance the budget. As a result, short-term debt accounted for 58.5 percent of the total domestic debt stock, while medium to long-term debt constituted 41.5 percent, indicating a substantial refinancing risk, as over half of the debt stock matures in less than 1 year,” he said.

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