President Adama Barrow’s Remarkable Feats in Gambia

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Recently, the representatives of the National Hajj Commission and CEO of the Manazil Group from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Saleh Ahmed Banoon, congratulated The Gambia under the leadership of President Adama Barrow on its achievements of first and third positions in Africa and globally in the 2023 Hajj performance, recalling the awards The Republic of Gambia had recently won among major Muslim nations. The Saudi visitor expressed his admiration for The Gambia’s accomplishments despite being a small nation. It is, however, pertinent to note that these achievements came with the immense hard work and involvement of the president of the Republic of Gambia, Adama Barrow. After defeating Yahya Jammeh, President Barrow won the 2016 presidential election with 43.34%, and to date, the Gambia has grown from grass to grace, beating many odds while uplifting the nation’s economy. This article examines the feats of ‘the Projects President’ of the Republic of the Gambia.

His Excellency, Adama Barrow, President of the Republic of The Gambia, has been exalted by many, but very few have been able to capture his gentle mien and calm disposition as he prepares the ground for the enormous work of restoring the country’s local and international image for global acceptance.

In an exclusive interview with African Leadership Magazine, he spoke about his government’s efforts to revolutionise the country, one sector at a time, his journey so far, and his achievements.

During the interview session, relaxing back in his seat, he calmly said, “My journey has been very interesting. It has been very interesting, but it has not been easy. It hasn’t been an easy journey, but we needed to manage the situation, and I always tell my people we are finishing the journey on a very high note for the Gambia. On a very high note, we were able to make sure we had big achievements throughout the journey.

His leadership has been subdued by an immense commitment to international engagement, youth empowerment, democracy, infrastructural development, economic growth, and many others. These feats have displayed a positive tapestry for the Gambians and the future ahead.

Hosting the OIC Summit

Recently, the Republic of Gambia was nominated to host the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit. This was due to the country’s ability to dominate the international stage coupled with its vow to boost oneness among Muslim nations. “If we succeed, it is the Muslim Ummah that succeeds. If we fail, it is the Muslim Ummah that fails. Today, that’s why we are taking the OIC road. If you look at all these projects, we are talking about almost 300 million dollars in projects, and that will have a big impact on Gambian society. We are very proud of that. We are happy that they have confidence in Gambia. They have confidence in the leadership. That’s why they have given us the opportunity to host the OIC,” President Barrow said.

Infrastructure Development

I have just inaugurated the new roads in Basse. You have the bridges. You have the roads. This infrastructure is big, and it is just completed. Last week, I inaugurated the substation, which is the OMVG electrical substation. It is a big one. It is a game-changer in people’s lives. We just inaugurated it recently. I have just laid the foundation stone for over twenty health facilities. All the projects are going on as of now, and I have projects that are going on that people have been talking about for 50 or 60 years. There is a road called the HakaranRoad. It is a famous road. It is about 86 kilometres. another road that is about fifty-something kilometers long. We have another road over eighty-something. So, the contracts that are going on for road construction are for about 300 to 400 kilometres. They are all going very well, and we are also launching new projects. I have launched the OIC roads. We are talking about 50 kilometres and another 22 kilometres of a six-lane highway. For the first time, the Gambia is going to have flying bridges. This will be the first time we will be having those. So, I am finishing on a very high note,” Barrow disclosed.

The above assertion confirms how the Gambian government has invested in infrastructure development. From the construction of new roads, bridges, and six-lane highways. The completion of these projects will aid in the enhancement of transportation and connectivity within the country and other countries.

Economic Growth

“I always tell my people we are finishing the journey on a very high note for the Gambia,” President Barrow boasted during the interview session with ALM. His administration has accomplished great feats while revitalising the Gambian economy. “Our economy was growing between 1 and 2 percent. It was struggling. Today, we are growing by over 6.1 percent in the economy. If you look at the Treasury bills, when I came, interest rates were at 2, 3, and 4 percent. Today, interest rates are over 4 percent. Commercial banks were lending at 30 percent. Today, they are lending between 15 and 16 percent. We have increased our collection by 100 percent plus as it stands.”

Under Barrow’s leadership, the Gambia has achieved a significant increase in economic growth, which has shown in the improved living standards and opportunities of the people.

Promotion of Free Speech

For transparency and accountability in the Gambia, the Barrow-led government has actively promoted free speech and media freedom.

According to him, “It was an election promise that we would make sure the people regained their freedom. The people who ran away from this country will come back, and we will allow media freedom. Today, we have over 40 radio stations. We have over six TV stations. When we inaugurated the Basse projects, there was no print media that made it to their news headline.

The country has seen the emergence of numerous radio and television stations, allowing for open discussions and criticisms of the government. This has contributed to a pure democracy where the citizens have the right to freedom of speech in Gambia.

Establishment of Commissions

In a quest to address past injustices and boost governance, President Barrow initiated several key commissions and reforms. These initiatives include the Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission, the National Human Rights Commission, the Constitutional Review Commission, the Security Sector Reform, and the Civil Service Reform. The main job of these initiatives is to reform and strengthen the rule of law, human rights, and government institutions in the Gambia. Barrow’s commitment to peace and stability as the precursors to jobs and wealth creation in The Gambia has seen him do things differently. As the first step towards the recovery and restoration of The Gambia, he set up the above reforms.

Youth Development

According to a Greek philosopher, Diogenes, “The foundation of every state is the education of its youth. Recognising the vital role of youth in a nation’s development, President Barrow has invested in the progress of the young people in the Gambia by introducing a levy on telephone calls in order to fund youth and sports development initiatives, including the construction of stadiums. Secondly, scholarships were awarded to university students, and efforts have been put in place to further fund young people in various fields, including education and sports. He confirmed that, “We believe that our population, about 60 percent or more, is young, and we believe that they are the future leaders of this country. They need our support for everything. So, it is part of my priority as president and a priority for this government. When I came to power, it took me 2 years to make sure that we created a levy for youth and sports for the youthful population.

“Everybody making any telephone call in this country pays for that levy. We are collecting money there. We are using that money to help youth. Now, we are building a lot of stadiums in every corner of this country. We are building stadiums for the youth, and we also use those monies to support sports. There is also a youth enterprise fund. We use that levy. From there, you can specialise in funds. That’s why it is the first time Gambia has been hiring aircraft for their footballers to go and play and come back.”

International Engagement

Efficaciously, the Barrow-led government has promoted The Gambia’s international relations by strengthening its ties with the European Union, the Arab world, the African continent, and ECOWAS. The Gambia’s election as President of ECOWAS for a four-year term from 2022 to 2026 redirects the country’s growth reinforcement in the region. According to President Barrow, “When we came to power, Gambia was not doing very well as far as international relations are concerned. It was our first policy to make sure we opened up the Gambia and brought back our friends, and we succeeded in doing that. We have a very good relationship with the European Union, and we have to thank them for the support they have given. They did very well for us. And also, in the Arab world, we tried to connect the Gambia to the Arab world, the African continent, and ECOWAS. That’s why, for the first time, we have succeeded in being the President of ECOWAS for the next four years, from 2022 to 2026. Even the UN has succeeded in being part of human rights. Gambia has also gotten a seat in Human Rights. So, this is a big achievement for us.”

Infrastructure Investment in Education

Under the leadership of President Barrow, there has been a tremendous turnaround in infrastructural development. During the interview, he confirmed this: “1978 was the first time I came to the city, to celebrate independence. President Jawara was addressing us, saying to be very serious and hardworking, that we will be the future leaders of this country. After 40 years, at the same venue, I was addressing schoolchildren and addressing President Jawara himself as President of the Republic.

“In the history of this country, there has never been an administration that has built schools like my administration. Since I came to power, I have built over 3,000 classrooms across the country. I am building 50 schools a year. I am cutting down a distance of 12 kilometres from 6 kilometres to 2 kilometres between schools. Also, regarding scholarships, I think we have given more than half; almost 60 percent of the university students are on scholarships. I am also paying for schoolchildren. I think two days ago, we paid over half a million dollars for schoolchildren who were not accommodated by the government scholarship. At my level, we are paying for them because we know they need our support. The future of this country is in the hands of these young people because I am a typical example.”

With the above assertion, it is evident that the Barrow-led government has invested deeply in the country’s education sector, including the construction of thousands of classrooms and new schools. This development has started a beautiful and easy path to promoting education for Gambians.

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