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PRESS RELEASE June 30, 2017

Emergency Response to Consolidate Stability in The Gambia

$56 million of budget support to improve social sector

WASHINGTON, June 30, 2017—The World Bank approved today $56 million International Development Association (IDA) credit and grant to support strengthening the Government of The Gambia’s fiscal position while restoring the provision of essential public services.

This development policy financing (DPF)’s focus on fiscal stabilization, public expenditure efficiency, and reform of the state-owned enterprises (SOEs) sector will help establish an enabling environment for sustainable economic growth and improved service delivery over time. The policies supported by the proposed operation are expected to have a significant positive impact on restoring macro stability, while supporting poverty and social indicators in the short and longer run.

“This budget support is a direct result of the commitment we expressed immediately after the political transition and during the visit of the World Bank Vice President of the Africa region Makhtar Diop to The Gambia in February. We believe that to help the government face the huge challenges that could jeopardize the new democratic era it is vital for all The Gambia’s development partners to rapidly deploy technical and financial support,” said Louise Cord, World Bank Country Director.

“A poor 2016 agricultural season, combined with the negative impact of the political crisis on the tourism sector, exacerbated the already difficult challenges facing the country,” said Christine Richaud and Patricia Geli, the World Bank Task Team Leaders. “Immediate efforts to re-establish and maintain a sound fiscal policy stance, drastically reduce domestic financing of the deficit, and lay the groundwork for improving public sector management and boosting economic recovery will be critical to safeguard political stability.”

The operation is structured around three intertwined pillars, including rapid-response fiscal stabilization measures with due protection of social sectors. The operation starts addressing fiscal risks stemming from state-owned enterprises (SOEs), by limiting contingent liabilities and promoting enhanced transparency and financial viability of SOEs. Finally, it also supports fiscal efficiency in the procurement of essential medicines and seeks to avoid shortages critical drugs at health centers.

* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 77 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.3 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 112 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $19 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent going to Africa.


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