UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said his country will be rebuilding relations with The Gambia and rolling out a new set of development aid to the former British colony, promising to be back with “all sorts of new proposal to support the new Gambia.”
Aid to the Gambia will be focused on education, infrastructure, security and tourism.
During troubling times in relations with The Gambia, the British government reduced aid to the Gambia. Relations between the Gambia and the UK became sour since anti-Western dictator Yahya Jammeh took over power in a military coup in 1994.
“There have been difficulties between our side in the UK and the previous administration of Mr. Jammeh. It has been hard for us to have a relation to the fullest and we now have an opportunity to do more, particularly the Department for International Development,” Johnson said.
Although the UK has pulled the plug on the European Union, The Gambia’s main development partner, Johnson is looking forward to working with the West African authorities on “tackling the migration crisis” which is “very vital for Europe and as much as for Africa.”
The Gambia has by proportion, one of the largest arrivals of migrants by sea. The EU rolled out at least €24 million in multiple aid packages to address the migration crisis in hopes that it will create job opportunities and provide funding for young entrepreneurs.
Johnson, who dodged questions about his comments on Africa, did not say how much the UK will be pumping into the Gambia and promote tourism. The Gambia is set to rejoin the Commonwealth after a four-year exit that further isolated the small nation.