I am very delighted to preside over the launching of the National Development Plan 2018 – 2021.
Today’s event signifies my Government’s commitment to implement projects and programs that will contribute to transforming our country to a more progressive, vibrant and all-inclusive society. Successful implementation of the NDP will ensure achievement of Government’s medium term development aspirations. It will also contribute to realisation of our global and regional commitments such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and African Union (AU) Agenda 2063.
We are all aware of what my government inherited the most urgent of which is the frustrations and lack of opportunities for our young people. This has driven thousands of our young people to undertake the risky journey, across the Mediterranean Sea in search of a better future.
Similarly, many of our able and distinguished sons and daughters, in the Diaspora, were forced to live in exile due to the repressive environment that prevailed thus, depriving the country of vital human capital and resources needed to fuel the growth for economic and social transformation of our society.
Since coming to power, my government has undertaken many measures to address these challenges. Among the measures, we have urgently worked to stabilize the economy, restore public confidence in Government, strengthen democratic institutions and address the energy crisis.
However, I am aware that more must be done, and urgently. That is why I tasked my Government to draw up a new National Development Plan (NDP) to provide greater clarity and focus for government action, citizens’ engagement and also for our development partners who are eager and stand ready to assist us.
The National Development Plan 2018-2021 to be launched today is the result of these endeavors and series of consultations and interactions with different stakeholders.
The strategic orientation and the overarching framework for the plan draws upon several elements, the key ones being the Manifesto of the Coalition of the political parties that defeated the previous regime and the Government Compact agreed during a retreat of the Cabinet 5-7 May 2017.
Through its eight strategic priorities and their critical enablers, my government aspires not only to lay the foundations for a modern democratic state, but also to address the most pressing economic and social ills besetting our society.
The plan through its robust accountability framework, responds to my concern to ensure a strong focus on results, strong monitoring and evaluation processes, as well as strengthened engagement between my government and the country’s citizens, including those in the Diaspora.
The plan formulation adopted all-inclusive participatory processes with Thematic Working Groups drawn from government, civil society organisations, the private sector and development partners.
The goal of the National Development Plan (NDP) is to deliver good governance and accountability, social cohesion and national reconciliation. It aims to revitalize and transform the economy for the wellbeing of all Gambians.
This goal is anchored on the national vision that aims:
To transform The Gambia into a country where:
• All citizens enjoy the benefits of the highest standards of governance, are equal before the law, and freedom of expression is fully guaranteed;
• The government is fully accountable to its citizens and the constitutional provision on separation of powers is fully respected;
• There is social cohesion and harmony among communities;
• Citizens enjoy a high standard of living and access to health, education, food, quality basic services and housing is guaranteed to allow citizens to lead decent and dignified lives;
• Women and youth realize their full potential;
• A caring and nurturing environment exists for children, persons with disability and the elderly;
• An enabling environment is in place for the private sector to thrive and create decent jobs, especially for the young;
• Our natural endowments and their resilience create lasting solutions to poverty;
• Modern science, innovation and technology are harnessed to spur people-oriented development; and
• There is good neighbourliness with all countries based on our cherished values of democracy and mutual tolerance.
To successfully achieve this challenging but desirable vision, there is need for strengthened cooperation among all stakeholders. On this basis, the plan has adopted an integrated multi-sectoral approach through promotion of inter and intra sectoral cooperation in the implementation of programmes. The plan, therefore, seeks to bring about inclusive development, without leaving anyone behind, in line with the principles of Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
The plan is accompanied by a financing strategy that clearly articulates the financing arrangements for the effective implementation.
Given our current economic challenges, Government will embark on a vigorous sensitization campaign of all stakeholders to mobilize the required resources. The objective of these sensitization campaigns is to popularize the NDP by enhancing the knowledge and understanding of stakeholders around the issues, as well as strengthening ownership for successful implementation.
Given the popular demand to transform this country to better socio-economic conditions, I have no doubt that we can make it happen. With commitments and exercise of professionalisms in the way we manage government affairs, the developmental outcomes of this plan will be realized as outlined.
I call upon all Gambians to make this NDP their plan, to seriously interrogate themselves on how best they might contribute to its realization and most importantly to hold us to account when we fall short, in a constructive and positive spirit of nation building. I am convinced that the courage and determination shown by Gambians in defeating tyranny and oppression can be successfully harnessed to also help us overcome our challenges and ensure that together we fully realize the vision and goal of this National Development Plan.
Finally, I want to take this opportunity to thank all friends of The Gambia who have stood by us during trying times, and continue to do so – bilateral friendly governments and multilateral institutions.
I look forward to strengthened collaboration and partnership as we move from plan formulation to full implementation.
Let us collectively work together, let us take the destiny of our great country in our hands.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I now declare the Gambia’s 2018-2021 National Development Plan officially launched.
By President Adama Barrow