The Gambia: Project Start for "The Gambia Pilot Program"

In October 2019, PEM CONSULT started its activities for “The Gambia Pilot Program” together with the Gambian Agency for the Management of Public Works (GAMWORKS) which is the Project Executing Agency (PEA) and responsible for the overall management of this Program.

The Gambia Pilot Program is part of the “Regional Stabilisation and Development Fund for Financial Cooperation in ECOWAS Member States” which has been agreed between The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The overall objective of “The Gambia Pilot Program” is to contribute to the stability and sustainable development of The Gambia through the creation of new employment and income opportunities, especially for youth. Empowerment of the youth shall be achieved by:

  • Financing basic infrastructure and equipment along selected value chains (horticulture, poultry, fish)
  • Investing in vocational training and skills development for youth along the selected value chains
  • Strengthening local capacities and governance

The three pilot regions as intervention areas in The Gambia are the Greater Banjul Area (GBA), the Lower River Region (LRR), and the Upper River Region (URR).

While some Program measures have already been selected (e.g. students dormitory in MansaKonko, fish-smoking house for Brufut fish landing site, poultry house and fish-ponds for Kundam Youth Horticultural Garden), the Program generally follows an ‘open approach’ whereby most individual (investment) projects/ activities shall be selected only in the course of the implementation.

This open approach to the grants scheme will be based on a participatory and competitive selection process. This way, it is ensured that

  • projects will be chosen for funding via objective selection criteria,
  • the selection will involve technical experts but also major stakeholders incl. youth organisations and competent regional NGOs
  • the best projects with highest impact will be forwarded for funding through a competitive application procedure.

Applicants for grants, stakeholders and multiplicators (e.g. agricultural extension services) will be prepared and trained for this innovative process, as it is expected that capacity is widely lacking for preparing and implementing grants projects.

In the course of the Program start-up activities and for the mutual understanding on the measures, a retreat was organized in October 2019 in Dakar, Senegal, with the Gambian Honourable Ministers of Finance and Economic Affairs, of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment, of Fisheries and Water Resources, of Interior and of Youth and Sports as well as with further representatives of the Gambian Ministries, of ECOWAS, the German Federal Foreign Office, KfW, GIZ, GAMWORKS and PEM CONSULT (see photo of participants).