Agriculture Is the Weak Spot of the Gambian Economy- says IMF REP
Mamabou Barry the International Monetary Fund (IMF) representative to the Gambia said “Agriculture is the weak spot of the Gambian economy because of its exposure to climate uncertainties but also the weaknesses in the groundnut industry due to financial difficulties of GGC and also the inflation that is affecting the largest crop in the country”.
He added that since the end of 2016, growth has been strongly driven by the service sector and the construction sector especially in 2019.
“Inflation has been trending down however, a large increase in postal charges in March has led to about one percent (1%) increase in inflation, this is expected to be reverted in May 2020, weak agriculture production has recently been pressuring up food inflation.
He made these and other revelation recently during country launching of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s October 2019 Regional Economic Outlook (REO) for Sub- Saharan Africa Outreach, held at a local hotel in Kololi.
The outreach forum is organized by IMF in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs to present the October 2019 REO for Sub- Saharan Africa.
The REO is the flagship publication of the IMF’s Africa Department, which provides a cross- country analysis of economic developments within Sub- Saharan Africa (SSA) under the theme: “Navigating Uncertainties”, discusses the economic outlook for the SSA region, the key challenges confronting the region’s policymakers, and provides policy recommendations. The report also contains country- specific data and analytical chapters on issues of interest to the SSA region.
Mod Secka Permanent Secretary Central Bank of the Gambia said the flagship continue to provide valuable insight to government authorities and most importantly, policy makers across Africa on issues confronting the economies and the continent as a whole.
“Access to concrete data and information, especially evidence based research work is critically important to our work”, he said, adding that REO does not only give us a wider perspective of the situation of our individual economies, but also gives us regional and sub-regional dimensions t to our economic challenges and offers opportunity to make comparison with peers.
Bernard Mendy Economics International Monetary Fund in his presentation on domestic arrears in Sub- Saharan Africa on size, symptoms, and cures.
“70% of sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) scores for the domestic arrears”, he said.
He stated that despite the prevalence of arrears, their causes and efforts are not well-understood, and the literature on domestic arrears is very limited, their true scale and cost may be hidden.
According to research: Agriculture is the most important sector in the Gambia economy and one of the priority areas of development, particularly in the new global climate of price escalation of staple food items and oil.
The Gambia has 558,000 hectares of very good quality arable land, of which only 200,000 hectares are currently under rain fed agricultural production. The Gambia has great potential for irrigated agriculture, with fresh water from the River Gambia, rain water if harvested, and fossil water that can be drilled.
By Awa Mboow.