President Barrow Launches Initiative to Address Urban-Rural Disparities

President Adama Barrow today called on development partners to join his government to transform the socio-economic conditions of Gambians. He was speaking at the launch of the Programme for Accelerated Community Development (PACD), an integrated multisector fast-track community development approach spearheaded by the Office of the President. 

President Barrow said the PACD initiative, which is “very close to my heart,” was developed out of concern for the welfare of Gambians who have been suffering for far too long. He said the programme is designed to “swiftly address the socio-economic challenges”, especially for people in rural areas.

The pilot phase of the PACD focuses mainly on providing access to clean drinking water, rural electrification, the construction of feeder roads and ensuring food security. It aims at bridging the development gap between urban and rural Gambia and improving the living conditions of the people in specifically targeted remote and hard to reach communities.

Speaking earlier Honourable Amie Fabureh, the Minister of Agriculture, said the PACD is in line with the country’s development agenda. She noted that the programme has all the necessary components for the rapid transformation of rural Gambia. Honourable Fabureh appreciated the coinciding of the programme's launch with International Day of Rural Women. A day set aside by the UN to celebrate the immense contribution of rural women in agriculture and development in general. 

Aissata De, the UNDP Resident Representative in The Gambia, said the launch of the PACD is timely, noting that it reimagines the approach to development. Ms De pointed out that the concept of the PACD is about doing development differently to impact communities directly. She said the programme would help accelerate growth and recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the beneficiaries of the project Mr Luba DL Mendy, of Brikamaba, expressed how the project has changed his life and that of people in his community, as he thanked President for this laudable initiative. 

The Director-General of the Department of Strategic Policy and Delivery, Professor Dr Jainaba Kah, in her welcoming remarks, appreciated the leadership asserted at the Presidency in support of the PACD pilot project.  She thanked the partners for their cooperation and assistance.

A cross-section of Diplomats, the UN family, Senior Officials and other dignitaries have witnessed the launch.