Energy and Water
The combined national and regional energy projects under supervision are over $250 million. The Gambia Electricity Restoration and Modernization Project (GERMP, P163568) was approved for $43 million in May 2018 with additional financing of $41 million approved in 2020. Complementary regional projects include the OMVG Regional Interconnection Project (with $47 million World Bank financing out of a $86 million allocation) and the ECOWAS Regional Access Project ($66 million allocation for The Gambia).
This portfolio has enabled much-improved operational and financial performance for National Water and Electric Company (NAWEC). These gains were however eroded in 2022 following material deviations in oil prices and a stagnant tariff resulting in substantial losses, over $45m. Operational improvements however continue to materialize with system wide blackouts reducing from 19 in 2022 to 10 in 2023. The deployment of prepaid meters continues to provide significant opportunity to NAWEC in improving collections. Collection efficiency currently stands over 97% denoting the substantive deployment of meters across all customer classes. An organizational restructuring has been completed with the creation of distinct business units (Water & Electricity). Service reliability for water remains intermittent, particularly across the Greater Banjul Area (GBA). To address some of these issues, GERMP includes $11.5 million for the following activities: investments in enhanced water quality solutions at selected water treatment stations; intervention boreholes; rehabilitation of water storage tanks; new network connections; treatment of non-revenue water (NRW); energy efficiency measures; and a pilot to reduce physical and commercial water losses.
The nascent Social Protection System was a critical element of the COVID-19 response. The $30 million Social Safety Net Project (P167260) was restructured in June 2020 and $10 million was re-allocated to support a broader program of short-term cash transfers (Nafa Quick) during the COVID-19 containment period, which benefited 78,422 households in 30 rural districts for 4 months. The Nafa Program was successfully scaled up in August 2022, to an additional 17 poor districts reaching an additional 14,190 households bringing the total number of beneficiary households to 17,036 households.
The WBG is working with other development partners to support the National Social Protection Secretariat so that it becomes an effective, coordination unit for social protection. The social registry is to ensure that social programs of all sectors are targeted to beneficiaries in need. Data has been collected for the social registry in 36 of the 43 districts of the country.
The Gambia Essential Health Services Strengthening Project (P173287) ($30 million) approved in October 2020, along with Additional Financing of $50 million approved in November 2021 and Second Additional Financing of $8.83 million approved in July 2023, aims to improve the quality and utilization of essential health services. Notable activities the project has supported include:
- The national expansion of performance-based financing of health facilities. The WB financed the introduction of results-based financing in the health sector in 2014.
- The establishment of the national health insurance authority for the rollout of the National Health Insurance Scheme. The WB provided financial and technical support for drafting of the insurance bill and the enactment by the National Assembly.
- Revamping of the postgraduate medical training program to Gambian doctors with the recruitment of international specialist consultants, mainly from West Africa.
- Establishing for the first time Bachelor of Sciences (BSc) degree programs for Nurse Anesthesia and for Midwifery, and postgraduate diploma nurse programs for Anesthesia, Midwifery, Pediatrics and Perioperative Nursing; and a clinical simulation laboratory for nursing education.
- Sponsored 23 laboratory technicians to obtain a bachelor’s degree in laboratory in December 2022.
- Establishing an electronic civil registration and vital statistics system which will serve as the foundation for eGovernment thereby making the provision of public services in all sectors more effective and efficient.
- Mass birth registration and national health insurance registration from August 1, 2022 to February 28, 2023. Over 1.1 million people were registered.
- Preparations underway for conducting the World Health Organization (WHO) STEPwise Approach to NCD Risk Factor Surveillance (STEPS) survey.
- Supported the procurement of a mobile cinema truck (the first of its kind in The Gambia) to facilitate the rollout of Social and Behavior Change Communication activities.
- The ongoing construction and equipment, at Farato, of the national emergency treatment center intensive care unit, emergency observation and treatment center, national public health laboratory and training center, national blood transfusion center, conference center and diagnostic imaging center.
- Designs completed and renovation underway for dilapidated asbestos-containing health facilities.
- Renovation underway for X-ray rooms in 5 hospitals.
- Designing/selection of contractors underway for renovation and equipment of health facilities.
- The MOH is embarking on digitalization of the health sector with establishing health information systems that are interoperable with the existing District Health Information Software 2 (DHIS2).
The Gambia is seeking to mitigate the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the education system, while continuing to move forward with its Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) 2018-2030. The Education Sector Support Program (ESSP-P162890) was approved on March 28, 2018, and will be closing on June 30, 2023. It was followed by an additional financing approved on June 10, 2021. The objective of this operation is to increase access to early childhood development and basic education and improve the quality of teaching and learning. It is expected to benefit 411,000 school-aged children. At the post-secondary level, The Gambia is a part of the regional Africa Centers for Excellence (ACE) Impact project which is transforming the Gambia Technical Training Institute (GTTI) into a STEM-focused center of excellence.
Agriculture The Gambia’s economy is heavily dependent on agriculture, contributing 17% of GDP and 30-40% of foreign exchange earnings from exports. The $40 million Gambia Inclusive and Resilient Agricultural Value Chains Development Project (P173070), approved in November, 2021, and effective as of March 14, 2022, promotes the development of four key priority agricultural value chains: (i) rice (substituting for increasing imports); (ii) horticulture (vegetables and mangoes for urban centers and export); (iii) cashews (for domestic processing and export); and (iv) poultry (for urban centers), in conjunction with maize for feed.
Good progress is being achieved with (i) studies completed (detailed value chains, SPS, agro-logistic centers as marketing infrastructures); (ii) technical design on-going (irrigation, feeder roads); (iii) 500 tons of improved climate-smart varieties of rice (350 tons) and maize (150 tons) seeds procured and distributed on time to about 11,000 farmers in 2022 (60% women and 35% youth 18-35 years old) and 16,000 farmers in 2023 through a digital mobile application to ensure targeting, transparency, and efficiency with positive impact on agricultural productivity and production contributing to improve country food security in this context of global food crisis; (iv) the implementation of the matching grant (MG) with about 7,000 business plans applications received from smallholders and SMEs. A total of 19 SMEs competitively selected received their grant for an amount of $4 million and $2.6 million of private capital mobilized to match the grant. The smallholders and groups' applications are being assessed by the country MG selection committee with support from the technical assistance firm hired.
The AG team is cooperating with the Transport, Land and Water GPs to quickly prepare the additional financing to support the fertilizer program ($15M) combined with (i) rural/peri-urban water program ($20M) to expand irrigation and improve access to drinkable water; and (ii) land tenure intervention ($10M) building on GIRAV experience in improving/securing women land ownership and promoting digital registration.
Last Updated: Sep 30, 2023