International Monetary Fund (IMF) Staff Concludes Governance Diagnostic for The Gambia – African Business
At the request of The Gambia authorities, an IMF mission conducted a diagnostic to assess the strength of the governance framework in The Gambia, identify vulnerabilities, including to corruption, and offer reform options, guided by the IMF’s framework for Enhanced Engagement in Addressing Governance Vulnerabilities. While the authorities made significant improvements in bringing their legal framework closer towards best practices, there are still many challenges. The Governance Diagnostic will continue collaboration until the finalization and publication of a report detailing the findings and making recommendations.
At the request of the government of The Gambia, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by Olivier Basdevant visited Banjul over the period January 10—24, 2023, to conduct a diagnostic of governance and corruption vulnerabilities in The Gambia. This diagnostic allows for a detailed assessment of corruption severity, evaluation of governance weaknesses in key state functions and the possibility of recommending solutions.
The following statement was made by Mr. Basdevant at the conclusion of the mission:
“The mission commended the authorities for the progress achieved so far, notably by bringing various legislations in line with best practices. These preliminary observations were shared at the conclusion of the mission. These observations will be refined over the coming weeks as The Gambia’s governance diagnosis report is completed.
“Since 2017, The Gambia has been engaged in governance reforms, with new laws (2018 Central Bank Act, the access to information law 2021, public procurement act 2022, and bills on anti-corruption, anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism, public finances, state-owned enterprises, and banking); modernizing processes, in part through digitalization and automation (the GRA rolling out the Automated System for Customs Data, ASYCUDA World, and the ongoing efforts to develop an e-procurement platform), and bringing banking sector regulatory and supervisory framework closer to international standards. There are still challenges, as described below. These will require continued efforts to improve governance, and reduce corruption vulnerabilities.
“Public processes appear vulnerable to corruption and uneven decisions owing to limited digitalization and undefined conditions for applying discretionary powers. This problem was evident in many areas, including procurement and staff recruitment. It also affected enforcement of contractual rights and property rights. Access to official records is often difficult due to their paper-based nature. Furthermore, official public websites or e-platforms are not always current.
“Administrative capacity is limited, thus hampering the delivery of timely and quality public services. Existing resources could be focused on the highest risks; and the mission welcomes the authorities’ intention to continue strengthening their capacity.”
“The mission commends the authorities for their anti-corruption efforts, notably with a bill broadly aligned with best practices, even though some provisions could be improved (independence of the anti-corruption commission, and effective enforcement). The mission encouraged the authorities’ efforts in bringing their anti-corruption framework in line with best practices, including their asset declaration and conflicts regime. The mission welcomes the authorities’ intention to address the deficiencies of AML/CFT frameworks identified in the 2021 Mutual Evaluation Report of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA).
“The Central Bank of The Gambia is encouraged to continue their efforts to further strengthen oversight and internal governance arrangements, including for banking supervision.”
“Looking forward, the IMF stand ready to support the authorities in their governance reform agenda, though continued capacity development, and encourage the authorities to develop a comprehensive national strategy for good governance, which could be informed by our forthcoming report and supported by The Gambia development partners.”
“The IMF team would like to thank The Gambia authorities and other counterparts for their hospitality, excellent cooperation, as well as candid and constructive discussions.”
The Honorable Mr. Seedy Kita, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs; Mr. Dawda Jallow Ministry of Justice; and Mr. Buah Saidy Governor of The Central Bank of The Gambia. Other senior officials and representatives of civil society and international development partners were also present.
Distributed by APO Group for the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
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