Administrator Power on the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Agreement with the Government of The Gambia

Press Release Shim

Speeches Shim

Statement

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, October 6, 2021
Office of Press Relations
press@usaid.gov

I congratulate the Gambian people on their ongoing democratic progress, which has resulted in myself and the other members of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Board of Directors unanimously approving a four-year, $25 million Threshold Program between MCC and the Government of The Gambia.

The MCC is an independent U.S. government agency that provides grants and assistance to developing countries who are committed to making advances on good governance, economic freedom and investing in their citizens. That The Gambia might be recognized by MCC for showing a firm commitment to improving policy performance would have seemed improbable until very recently. Over the course of twenty-two years, former President Yahya Jammeh and his government perpetrated brutal human rights abuses against Gambians and severely restricted basic rights. Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission has stated that the “violations and abuses committed were massive, horrifying and varied.”

In 2016, a mobilized Gambian electorate shocked the world by defeating Jammeh, and President Adama Barrow took office in 2017 in the country’s first-ever democratic transition of power. The Gambia has since pursued reforms and begun to make progress towards moving into a new democratic era with free and fair elections, improvements in civil liberties, fighting human trafficking, and the establishment of a Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission to address the abuses of the past decades.

MCC has documented promising improvements in The Gambia leading to support of this Threshold Program. Between 2018 and 2021, The Gambia made notable advances on MCC’s annual country scorecards that use data from independent, third-party sources to assess changes in the country’s political environment, with The Gambia’s scores on civil liberties and political rights more than doubling. Relative to peer countries, The Gambia’s percentile ranking jumped from 16th to the 63rd percentile on civil liberties and from the 27th to the 75th percentile on political rights. These advances are a testament to the results achieved by the Government of The Gambia and the ongoing commitment of the Gambian people, civil society, reformers, and others who are working tirelessly to build a more open, prosperous country.

Still, significant reforms and human rights challenges remain and require urgent attention. The final report and recommendations of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission are pending, and justice and accountability for victims of the dictatorship as well as implementation of reforms to prevent future human rights violations are critically important. The U.S. encourages the Government of The Gambia to continue to press forward on critical policy, governance, and institutional reforms in order to help build on the gains of the past years and to meet the democratic aspirations of the Gambian people. As the December presidential election approaches, a key focus of the United States government is supporting a fair, transparent, and peaceful voting process that continues to advance democratic freedoms.

USAID recently launched a $7.9 million activity focused on improving access to justice by providing assistance to the judicial sector and civil society, and has also been assisting The Gambia on the constitutional reform process as well as electoral system reform in preparation for the upcoming elections in December 2021. The recently-approved Threshold Program will support The Gambia’s electricity sector by improving electricity systems and delivery of electricity, a critical foundation for advancing equitable prosperity.

Last updated: October 06, 2021

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