The European Union has informed President Adama Barrow that it has committed 8 billion Dalasis available as budget support to the Gambian government. Of this total, 25 million Euros is the first concrete contribution, which has been disbursed. Receiving the EU delegation in his office in Fajara this morning, Mr Barrow thanked the EU for supporting his administration as it stabilises.
The Director of the European Commission’s Department for Development Coordination, West and Central Africa, Ms Carla Montesi, said their visit reflected the EU’s firm commitment to and support for the Barrow administration.
Speaking specifically about youth migration, the Gambian leader said migration was a challenging issue, as young people leave for the West with the hope of better livelihoods. President Barrow urged all stakeholders to engage in dialogue, as migration was a global problem that could be best addressed through job creation for the youth. He called for investments that would create jobs to engage the youth in industrial development and in agriculture.
The President assured the visiting EU delegation, led by EU Ambassador to The Gambia Attila Lajos, that his administration would cooperate on migration issues and create opportunities for the youth. He commended the EU for supporting the ECOMIG forces in The Gambia and assured the team of the political will to bring positive change in The Gambia.
Ms Montesi commended President Barrow for the progress his government had made in its first six months, including the holding of successful National Assembly elections and progress with freedom of the press and transitional justice issues. She assured him that the EU would continue to work with the government to support the National Development Plan, and that it would take a global approach to support the energy sector, youth employment and other equally important areas.
Illegal migration is one of the global challenges for world leaders. It was understood from the EU briefing that a high percentage of illegal migrants in Europe come from The Gambia. Latest figures indicate that some 12,000 Gambian migrants recently arrived in Europe. Gambians were said to be among the highest percentage of youths leaving their home country for Europe. Conversely, some young Gambians are known to have voluntarily returned home from Libya with the hope of resettling back in the Gambia.
The European Union has been keenly following developments in The Gambia, and has conducted several missions to engage with the government on areas of cooperation.
Other members of the delegation with Ambassador Lajos and Ms Montesi were the European Commission Director for Migration and Protection, Mr Laurent Muschel, Special Envoy, Ambassador Jose Luis Pardo from Spain, Senior Counsellor Thomas Wixler of the Embassy of Germany in Dakar, and Ms Sibylle Rieder from the European External Action Service.
Issued by Director of Press & Public Relations at State House, Mrs. Amie Bojang-Sissoho