Gambian businesses are reporting a decline in the market and have dwindled the confidence of investors after President Yahya Jammeh’s refusal to step down puts the country in a political crisis.
It has added to already difficult economic challenges that President-elect Adama Barrow will be inheriting from Jammeh’s 22-year rule that saw the country’s trade deficit go from a negative US$200 million to nearly a negative US$1 billion.
The confidence of investors in The Gambia has been rapidly declining under Jammeh, especially in the tourism and agricultural sectors. The Central Bank says the foreign currency reserve has depleted by more than 65%.
Finance Minister Abdou Kolley told parliamentarians that there will be a decline in government revenue next year and prices of good and service may see an increase.
Businesses are reacting to the way experts expect. During the first few days after the elections, businesses reported an upsurge in profits of basic commodities. Days before Gambians went to the polls, they feared a violent end to the elections and went on to stock their pantries.
Entrepreneurs say it is time to rebuild the confidence of investors and to help them understand the new Gambia and make the most of any future opportunities that may arise.
The tourism industry reported the largest decline since Jammeh’s political flip-flop. Both agriculture and the service sectors saw a decline in output and orders.
The Chamber of Commerce says the current political impasse is causing uncertainty in the business community with adverse consequences to the Gambia’s economy.