The United Kingdom and The Gambia share a lot in common and have enjoyed an enduring diplomatic relationship. In this exclusive interview with African Leadership UK, the UK High Commissioner to The Gambia, His Excellency, David Belgrove, tells us more about the relationship between both countries and why a number of Brits are finding abode in the Gambia. Excerpts.
Gambia and UK have maintained a solid and robust relationship since independence. Can you tell us more about the relationship between both countries?
We have a long relationship with The Gambia; we share similar democratic and legal histories, which helps us work together.
Increasingly, we share the same aims on the international stage, especially on climate change and human rights issues. Each year, we see many young Gambians go to study in the UK, learning more about the UK’s society and culture and their academic studies, some of whom are our prestigious Chevening scholars. Of course, many British people have a strong personal connection with The Gambia; in regular times, we see 50,000 British tourists visit the country, many come back year after year. A number fall in love with the country to such an extent, they decide to move here and make their lives here.
The UK is a market for agricultural produce from The Gambia, and there is potential for that trade to increase.
Climate Action Tracker recently announced The Gambia as the only country to achieve the Net Zero target by 2050. How do you see this milestone changing the country’s pedigree globally?
The Gambia is to be congratulated as the first to register a plan of Nationally Determined Contributions that will meet the Paris Commitments. It sets an example for all countries to follow and illustrates that it can be achieved with exemplary political commitment.
The High commission recently jointly hosted the capacity building for the Human Rights Committee of the National Assembly. What other priority areas of intervention does the High commission attend to in The Gambia?
Our priority is to support the democratic gains The Gambia has made in recent years. We have projects that support the election process and build capacity within the judiciary and parliament.
We also have a strong focus on climate change and the environment, working closely with the Government and Civil Society, including adaptation and resilience projects. We have also been increasing the engagement between the British military and the Gambian Armed forces, focusing on training for peacekeeping operations.
Click HERE TO ACCESS THE FULL INTERVIEW on page 29 of the December 2021 edition of the African Leadership Magazine