Friday, January 27, 2017


Dear President Barrow,
Welcome. It’s your first day behind the desk and you have an enormous job on your hands.  Former President Yahya Jammeh has finally left the country after a tense stand-off; many of the people who fled in fear of violence last week are returning; businesses reopening; and the whole nation is preparing to listen to what your first moves will be. 

Your Excellency, I’d like you to take a moment to think about that. I’d like you to imagine a little girl standing alongside her parents in the crowd listening to you address the public.  This little girl’s future is now in your hands. 

For the past 22 years, her parents, like all of our citizens, have been forced into silence. They were unable to complain when they could not access basic services such as healthcare or education and saw their rights being derailed by a dictator.  If they did have the courage to speak out they may well have faced arrest, disappearance or torture. This silencing, this fear, this terrible way of operating must stop. Now. 

New network aims to help bridge multi-billion-dollar financing gap in rural areas

Rome, 27 January 2017 – The establishment of a new network to help bridge the estimated US$150 billion financing gap that prevents small rural producers and businesses in developing countries from growing their operations and strengthening rural economies, was announced today.
The announcement, made by Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Enrico Morando, Italy’s Deputy Minister of Economy and Finance, came at the end of a three-day international conference in Rome focused on finding new ways to finance rural development.


President Adama Barrow

Fellow Gambians and friends of The Gambia, I am humbled to stand before you to address the whole world on this historic occasion. This is a day no Gambian will ever forget in one’s life time. This is the first time since The Gambia became Independent in 1965 that Gambians have  change their government through the ballot box.
I must take this opportunity to thank the entire electorate of the Gambia and Gambians in the Diaspora for making this day possible.
I thank the entire campaign team of Coalition 2016 and the stakeholders for putting aside their political differences to unite us for the national interest.  
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to register special appreciation to Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia, and the Chairperson of Authority of Heads of States of ECOWAS, for her personal commitment and tireless efforts towards resolving the political crises in The Gambia. The sam sentiment goes to H ;EMuhammadou Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, H.E Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and H.E John Draman Mahama, former President of Ghana.
I must also express profound gratitude to ECOWAS, AU, the Security Council of the United Nations and all friendly nations who stood by us during our time of greatest need. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017


Addis Ababa, Thursday January 26, 2017– Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Amina Mohamed who is a candidate for the position of Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), accompanied by Mrs. Sicily Kariuki, Kenya's Minister for Youth and Gender Affairs met with youth from various African countries during the 9th African Union Gender Pre-Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under the theme: "Harnessing the Demographic Dividend Through Investments in Youth: Empowering Young People, Especially Young Women, For Leadership and Civic Participation."  This event marked the beginning of the 28th AU Summit .

Amb. Amina's Vision for the AUC has centered the role of the youth in Africa's development. In her new year's letter to Africans, she wrote: "In sum, our youth are our currency. This century is theirs and Africa’s! To harness their potential, we must collaborate both politically and economically. We must work in partnership and integrate in a manner that catalyses Africa’s synergy and diversity." 

Amb. Amina highlighted the need to listen to the needs, challenges and solutions proposed by the youth.  She expressed concern that youth engagement has often taken an "address approach" as opposed to a "dialogic approach." She stated that it was critical to recognise that Africa's youth, in this age, are the most educated, most exposed, most informed, most innovative and proactive. As a result, the promise of their potential can only be realised through consistent and sustainable partnership and joint decision-making with the youth. 

IFAD to provide US$24 million to create new employment opportunities in Tunisia

Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD.
Rome, 26 January 2017 – Over 110,000 people in five of Tunisia’s districts in the Governorate of Siliana, home to some of the country's most disadvantaged people, will benefit from a financial agreement signed today between the United Nations’  International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Tunisia.  
The agreement for the Siliana Territorial Development Value Chain Promotion Project (PROFITS), which aims to create sustainable employment opportunities, was signed in Rome by Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD, and Moez Sinaoui, Ambassador of the Tunisian Republic in Rome.
The total cost of the project is US$34.2 million of which IFAD is providing a $23.6 million loan and $0.5 million grant. Also contributing to the project costs are the Government of Tunisia ($7.6 million) and the beneficiaries themselves ($2.5 million).
“This innovative project builds upon IFAD’s experience in Tunisia by focusing on value chains that promote opportunities for all partners,” said Annabelle Lhommeau, IFAD Country Programme Manager for Tunisia. “Value chain development is an important lever for promoting both agricultural and non-agricultural activities and strengthening the livelihoods and incomes of vulnerable people.”

Billions needed to eradicate poverty and hunger – IFAD conference looks for new ways of financing

Rome, 26 January 2017 – The world needs to take urgent action to mobilise the estimated US$265 billion a year needed to achieve the first two Sustainable Development Goals to end poverty and hunger by 2030, said Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) at last night’s opening of a conference focused on finding innovative ways to finance rural development.
“We must be more creative in how we use public resources and how we mobilise financing,” said Nwanze at the event held at the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance. He added that we need to make it easier for the private sector and philanthropists to invest in rural areas - the places where rates of poverty and hunger are highest.
Pier Carlo Padoan, Italy’s Minister of Economy and Finance, stressed the importance of ensuring all rural people can access financial services so that they can invest in their own development. The majority of rural people work on small farms and it is estimated that there is a $150 billion gap between the financing they need and what is currently available.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

UNESCO, National Library and CLD launch series of trainings on implementation of ATI Law

Amman, 24 January 2017 – Last week the first of several trainings on the implementation of the Access to Information (ATI) Law was held at the National Library in Amman. The first 3-day training session is one of five sessions being organized jointly by UNESCO Amman Office, Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD) and Department of the National Library as part of the EU funded and UNESCO implemented “Support to Media in Jordan” Project.

The trainings, taking place between January and March 2017, are targeting all 60 information officials in every government Ministry and other public bodies in Jordan, as well as several journalists and local trainers from non-governmental organizations and other bodies who will be able to carry on future training.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Combatting water scarcity is an economic decision, not a technological problem - IFAD to tell agriculture ministers

Rome, 20 January 2017 – While technologies may exist to ensure poor, developing-world farmers can access the water they need to grow enough food for their communities and countries, governments need to invest in them, said Perin Saint Ange, the Associate Vice-President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) en route to the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) in Berlin, Germany.
Saint Ange is participating in an expert panel at the GFFA – an international conference focused on the global agri-food industry – and will provide recommendations to government ministers on how to harmonise agriculture and water policies to meet the needs of rural small-scale farmers.
“Any attempts to address water management must be environmentally, economically and socially sustainable so that we ensure long-term food security,” said Saint Ange.

IFAD to host high-level conference on innovative approaches to financing for rural development

19 January 2017 – IFAD is joining forces with the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), the Brookings Institution and the University of Warwick to host an international conference in Rome aimed at advancing global efforts to end extreme poverty and hunger by 2030 through greater investments in rural development and innovative financing for smallholder agriculture that benefits the rural poor.
On 25 to 27 January, the first-ever Investing in Inclusive Rural Transformation: Innovative Approaches to Financing conference will bring together a diverse cross section of government, public and private-sector stakeholders for three days of lively and thoughtful discussions on facilitating investments in rural development and improving access to finance for investment by smallholder farmers and rural small and medium enterprises. See agenda here
"In all regions of the world, poverty and food insecurity are highest in rural areas, where three quarters of the extremely poor reside,” says Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD. “This conference comes at a critical time. Eradicating poverty and hunger will not happen by 2030 unless we step up development financing in rural areas and work together to collectively transform rural economies and societies."

Friday, January 13, 2017

GPU Press Release on Closure of Radio Stations

The Gambia Press Union (GPU) is deeply concerned by the current climate of fear in the Gambia media as the state continues to crackdown on journalists. We particularly condemn, in the strongest terms, the recent closure of four radio stations.

On Sunday, January 1, personnel of the National Intelligence Agency visited Taranga FM, Hill Top FM and Afri Radio FM, ordering them to stop transmission with immediate effect. A week later - Sunday January 8 - another private station, Paradise FM, was shut down on similar orders.

The Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure, has purportedly confirmed the revocation of the operating licenses of these radio stations. However, neither the Ministry nor the NIA gave any reasons for the closures.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Mauritania to benefit from US$21 million IFAD grant to boost food security, nutrition and reduce rural poverty

Michel Mordasini, Vice-President of IFAD
Rome, 12 January 2017 – A total of 285,600 farmers, particularly women and young people in six regions in southern Mauritania will benefit from a financial agreement signed today between the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Mauritania to improve their incomes, nutrition and food security.
The agreement for the Inclusive Value Chain Development Project (PRODEFI) was signed in Rome by Michel Mordasini, Vice-President of IFAD and Mariem Aouffa, Ambassador of Mauritania to Italy and Permanent Representative to Rome-based United Nations agencies.
The total cost of the project is US$45.2 million of which IFAD is providing a US$21 million grant including $6 million grant from the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) Trust Fund. It is co-financed by the national private sector ($2 million), the Government of Mauritania ($5 million) and by the beneficiaries themselves ($2.2 million). The remaining $15 million will be covered by other financing sources or by the next IFAD financing cycle for Mauritania (2019-2021).

President-elect Barrow welcomes Jammeh’s move to peaceful dialogue

President-elect Adama Barrow

The office of the president-elect Adama Barrow has welcomed the outgoing President Jammeh’s recent move calling for a peaceful dialogue with the coalition party, saying, ‘is done at the right time’.

This statement came after the incumbent gave a televised speech on Tuesday calling for peaceful dialogue and also appointing of Musa Jallow as Secretary General & Minister of Presidential Affairs and Mediator General between the APRC Government and the Coalition.

The office of the President-elect Barrow is of the view that dialogue is necessary to reach mutual understanding on the peaceful way forward.

His words: “The Office of the President Elect is now waiting for the initiatives of the Secretary General who is appointed Mediator General of the Government.” 

According to him, the decision to release those arrested in connection with political matters and the commitment not to effect new arrests are steps in the right direction.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Remarks by Ambassador C. Patricia Alsup on The Gambian Political Impasse

Ambassador Alsup
Ambassador Alsup made the following remarks at an American Citizens Town Hall Meeting on January 6, 2017. 
Ladies and gentlemen, it is a great honor for me to welcome you all to our Town Hall meeting for Americans in The Gambia.  Thank you all for being here this morning.   

Today we are on the verge of a great change in The Gambia.  As we all know all too well, there is currently an uncertain political environment in The Gambia.  We know that the uncertainty is making a lot of people uncomfortable, so we thought it would be useful for us to get together to talk about what the U.S. is doing and about what you can do to prepare for potential unrest and to keep yourselves safe. 

On December 1, 2016, incumbent President Yahya Jammeh lost the national election to the opposition candidate, Adama Barrow.  Although he initially conceded, President Jammeh has since publicly rejected the results and filed an appeal of the outcome, including a request for a new election with the Gambian Supreme Court.  In a meeting on December 17 in Abuja, The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) decided that if President Jammeh does not leave power at the end of his term on January 18, 2017, then ECOWAS will take all necessary actions to enforce the results of the Gambian elections, including a potential military intervention.

President Jammeh has called the ECOWAS decision to implement the December 1 election results illegal and a declaration of war.  He has also shut down three radio stations, and restricted broadcasting of a fourth, and there are widespread reports of politically motivated arrests.  On January 10, 2017, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear President Jammeh’s petition contesting election results, which is a potential flashpoint that could lead to civil unrest. 

Office of President-Elect Barrow calls on Gambians to attend January 19th Inauguration

Halifa Sallah Coalition Spokesperson
The office of the president-Elect, Adama Barrow has once again issued a statement calling for the general mobilization of the people to attend the inauguration ceremony on 19th January, 2017.
Giving an update on the country’s current political situation, the statement highlighted that the office of the president-elect stands by the principle that Adama Barrow’s Election as President of the Republic of The Gambia stands and as such is calling on Gambians to come out for the Inauguration.
It further adds that, “The status and outcome of an Election petition are unknown and indeterminable before the completion of any court process and should therefore be regarded as a peripheral issue which should not hamper any preparation for the inauguration.”


8th JANUARY 2017
The office of President Elect Barrow wishes to convey the assurance of its highest esteem to Ex–President John Dramani Mahama for demonstrating the political will to uphold the verdict of the Ghanaian people, after losing the 7th December 2016 pollsby handing over Executive power to President Nana Akufo Addo in a peaceful manner within the 30 day transition provided by the Ghanaian Constitution. This is the Democratic culture of peaceful transfer of Executive power that is being nurtured in the member states of ECOWAS.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

FAO gives over D4.7m worth of fishing gears to communities, Fisheries Department

Mrs Mariatou Njie,AFAOR and Head of Progs presenting items to 
Minister Pa Ousman Jarju(Photo credit: ©FAO/Amadou Bah)
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on 28 December handed over fishing gears worth over GMD4.7m to 12 communities and the Fisheries Department at a brief ceremony held in Banjul. The Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources Pa Ousman Jarju who presided over the event received the donation on behalf of the target beneficiaries.

The assistance comprises ten fishing boats (7 fibre and 3 wooden), ten 15 horse power (15HP) out board engines, fishing nets with accessories and life jackets for 10 communities and Fish catch assessment materials for the fisheries department procured by a two-year FAO Funded Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP).The ten beneficiary communities are Banjul, Old jeshwang, Tanji, Barra, Albreda, Bintang, Tendaba, Kanikunda, Wassu and Bwiam.  The communities of Bansang and Kemoto also received three fishing boats, three 15HP outboard engines, life jackets and fishing nets with accessories funded by FAO Tele-food projects.

Pulses are important food crops for addressing hunger, food security, malnutrition, environmental challenges and human health – saysDr. Perpetua Katepa-Kalala, FAO Representative in The Gambia


AUTHOR: BAJ Photo credit: ©FAO/Amadou Bah

Running under the slogan “nutritious seeds for a sustainable future”, the UN General Assembly declared2016 the International Year of Pulses (IYP) to raise awareness of the many benefits of pulses, boost their production and trade, and encourage new and smarter uses throughout the food chain.
In a symbolic gesture, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva planted a number of fava beans in a planter full of soil as he proclaimed the International Year opened on 10 November 2015 in Rome, Italy.
As part of activities marking the IYP, The FAO Representative in The Gambia, Dr. Perpetua Katepa-Kalala recently granted an interview to the Biodiversity Action Journalists (BAJ). She spoke extensively on the numerous benefits of pulses towards the attainment of the Agenda 2030. Below is the full interview: