Despite President Yahya Jammeh’s rhetoric to turn The Gambia into a donor country remains a mystery as evidenced by the United Nations Human Development Index 2015. With a score of 0.441, The Gambia ranks 175 out of 188 countries.
The United Nations Development Program Resident Coordinator, Ms. Ade Mamonyane Lekoretje, unveiled the report in Banjul on Wednesday. She said the country’s score had increased from 0.330 to 0.441 over the last 25 years. This is an increase of 33.5 per cent or an average annual increase of about 1.21 per cent.
She said that using the most recent survey data, the Demography Health Survey 2013, 57.2 per cent of the country’s population (over one million) is multi-dimensionally poor while an additional 394,000, accounting 21.3 per cent, live near multi-dimensional poverty.
Adult literacy rate is as low at 52 per cent posing significant challenge for the economy to transform to a high value production path. In addition, over 19.2 per cent of children 5-14 years old are working.
Ms Lekoretje said close to 56 per cent of total employed people were classified as the working poor during 2003-2012 while only 10.8 per cent of the statutory pension ages are recipient of old age pension.
The Minister of Trade, Industry and Employment, Abdou Jobe, launched the report. “The report argues that societies urgently need institutional reforms and access to care services to address these major imbalances in paid and unpaid work,” Mr. Jobe said.