Ranked at 175 out of 188 countries, The Gambia is classified as ‘least developed’ by the United Nations Development Programme’s 2015 Human Development Index. The country is poor, with about half of its population of approximately 1.9 million living below the poverty line, and an average per capita gross domestic product of approximately $467. Rural dwellers in The Gambia are twice as likely to be poor as those living in urban areas. The Gambia’s economy is highly reliant on subsistence agriculture, with additional household income coming from cash crops and surpluses in productive years. Gender inequality is an important feature of poverty in The Gambia. The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2017 placed The Gambia at 119 out of 144 countries – far behind neighbouring Senegal at 91, and a notable regression from its 2006 ranking of 79 out of 115 countries.
The Gambia's fragile economic and social profile makes it particularly vulnerable to a number of potential shocks, including climate change and weather extremes. In 2014/15 the double shock of drought, which affected agriculture, as well the Ebola scare, which decimated the tourism industry only just recovering from the 2008 global financial crisis, led to rising food insecurity rates and increasing migration to urban areas or overseas (particularly towards Europe). The Gambia needs support in paradigm change and the creation of efficient democratic institutions. Job creation and social inclusion are key to ensuring this goal.
Objectives, results and activities
LoCAL-The Gambia is featured as one of the 3 components of the Programme “Jobs, Skills and Finance (JSF) for Women and Youth in The Gambia”, funded by the 11th European Development Fund.
The JSF Programme seeks to contribute to stabilizing the economic, social and security situation of the country during the democratic transition by facilitating social inclusion and employment of the youth and women, with a specific emphasis on promoting gender equality and addressing climate change. It will do so through two components:
• Component 1: Job creation for the youth, women and local communities and equal access to employable skills development.
• Component 2: Improved access to finance
The first set of activities, featuring the LoCAL/PBCRG approach, will aim at creating jobs, particularly in the green economy. Local authorities and communities will be supported in the identification of needs in priority sectors and in planning investments accordingly. A particular emphasis will be placed on making sure investments contribute to climate resilience. Prioritized investments will be delivered through cash-for-work programmes for youth and women and through procurement to local Micro, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) so that jobs are created in the short to medium term. Workers benefitting from employment will be supported in parallel with access to financial and non-financial services with a view to broaden their medium to long term economic perspectives.
The second set of activities will start with a gender-sensitive skills gap analysis in the priority sectors. Based on the assessment, the project will provide support to increase the number, quality and accessibility of vocational training schemes offered to youth and women. The trainings will be accompanied by on-the-job training wherever possible. Technical assistance and capacity building for MSMEs and Technical Service Providers will likewise be offered. The International Trade Center (ITC) will support implementation of these activities.
The third set of activities will facilitate access of MSMEs to financial services. The project will place a particular focus on youth and women. The project will use a market systems-based approach (micro, meso and macro) and ensure improved Financial Services Provider (FSP) products respond to market needs, so that available credit is used in a way that actually benefits the real economy.
Three field missions to the country took place between June 2017 and July 2018. In June 2017, a UNCDF mission visited the country and met stakeholders with a view to presenting the overall objectives and elements of the mechanism and more broadly of the Programme; this was followed by a technical mission in October 2017 aimed at collecting data and information for the actual design of the Programme. In early July 2018 another mission took place to discuss and validate the design of the JSF Programme with stakeholders. The mission team met representatives from various government agencies and ministries, private sector entities, financial providers, CSOs, development partners and NGOs to build awareness on the Programme and to validate key information with a view to guarantee a successful implementation of the various components.
Adaptation measures and investments
The first cycle of PBCRGs will be delivered in the last quarter of 2018 and will allow for the financing of adaptation measures in target wards.
The programme builds on the lessons learned in the implementation of the national system to increase employment, the Gambia Priority Employment Programme (GAMJOBS). This centralised programme had the overall objective of developing a skilled, versatile, dynamic and efficient workforce and was expected to create 10,000 jobs annually and train 20,000 young women and men in vocational skills and entrepreneurship. In the case of GAMJOBS three years into the project 68 youth and women out of the targeted 20,000 caseload had been helped and barely 10% of pledged funds received.
The programme also builds on lessons learned from the World Bank $25 million funded Community Driven Development Project which supported rural communities in planning, implementing and maintaining social and economic investments in partnership with Local Government Authorities. One of the biggest lessons learned of the project was the need for capacity building at all levels: local governments, villagers or line agencies.
Population: 1,9 million
Number of districts (wilaya): 44
Phase I: 2018–2022
Phase II: 2022 and onwards
Lead government partners (Memorandum of Understanding): in process
Other government partners (Technical Committee): in process
LoCAL donors and in-country development partners: European Union