European Union Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica will be announcing a significant package of immediate and longer term financial support for the Gambia during his upcoming visit to the West African nation.
Mimica is expected to meet with President Adama Barrow in Banjul on Thursday.
The Barrow administration has committed to numerous reforms amid high expectation from citizens, who voted in December to oust the country’s longstanding ruler Yahya Jammeh.
“There is no time to lose. The people of The Gambia need to see the dividends of democracy, and they need to see them quickly. This is the best guarantee for democracy to take deep roots. And it is the best guarantee that the past remains where it is and does not come back to haul us,” Mimica said.
Mimica pledged EU support to strengthen inclusive sustainable growth and job creation for the young Gambians, many of whom have resorted to using the ‘backway,’ journeying through the Sahara to cross the Mediterranean into Europe.
The EU has been engaging President Adama Barrow and his administration. Its envoy to The Gambia Attila Lajos said the Union will release more than €33 million held over deteriorating human rights conditions under Jammeh.
“Europe wants to be a privileged partner of this New Gambia. The new President [Adama Barrow] has already taken important steps in the area of human rights and the rule of law. He has announced a series of reforms that we stand ready to support.
Political prisoners detained by Jammeh’s government has been released and law enforcement is starting to probe missing person cases. The country’s new Attorney General and Justice Minister Aboubacarr Tambadou has also pledged to make media reforms a priority.