The European Union is readying to release at least €33 million in budgetary aid to the Barrow administration after the UN called for the international community to support the Gambia’s new government.
Gambia’s former President Yahya Jammeh is alleged to have left the Western African country’s treasury empty and made away with at least US$12 million in the last days of his presidency.
The European Union had earmarked €33 million for development projects in the West African country for 2015-2016 but froze the funds due partly to concerns over human rights, corruption and good governance by the regime of Yahya Jammeh.
Talks to release the funds were derailed when Jammeh expelled EU Envoy Agnes Guillaud in 2015.
The EU Ambassador to The Gambia Attila Lajos said if the Barrow administration government delivers on its programs, the more will be available from the European Union’s side.
“It is a fundamental concern of the European Union to support this democratic process in this country… We are at the start of a completely new chapter of the history of the EU-Gambia relations,” Lajos told senior Gambian journalist Mustapha Darboe.
The EU is eager to support President Barrow’s government in achieving their development goals and looking forward to a very fruitful and meaningful partnership with the new government.
Jammeh lost elections to Adama Barrow and has fled into exile after regional troops were authorized to flush out the longtime ruler.
President Jammeh, a throwback dictator who claims to have derived his mandate from Allah, has ruled Gambia for 2 years during which he was accused of severe human rights abuses including killings and disappearances.
(Reporting by Mustapha Darboe; Writing by Sam Phatey; Additional Reporting from Reuters)