The European Union announced aid worth 225 million euros ($240 million) on Thursday for The Gambia’s new government as President Adama Barrow said his nation was “virtually bankrupt” due to mismanagement by the former regime.
Barrow’s victory in December’s election is seen by foreign donors as a new chance for human rights and the rule of law to be better respected in the tiny west African nation.
Neven Mimica, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, hailed “a peaceful democratic change in The Gambia” and said it was “fully committed to engage with President Barrow and his government”.
Immediate financial assistance of 75 million euros would target food insecurity, unemployment and the poor condition of the nation’s roads, the European Commission said in a statement.
Further aid worth 150 million euros would be disbursed following a future visit by an EU delegation, it added.
President Barrow said in a speech given at the signing of the aid deal that his nation had just two months of foreign exchange reserves left, and described “an economy that is virtually bankrupt and in need of immediate rescue.”