The European Union has pledged to give the essentially insolvent Gambia an additional €150 million, a sign that broken ties are being mended.
Gambia’s President Adama Barrow returned from Brussels last week, where he met the EU President Jean-Claude Juncker and EU Vice President Neven Mimica. Barrow calls his visit a success.
€150 million is already taking shape and envisaged to include budget support in the form of a “State Building Contract,” which will also support key democratic reforms.
The EU last month gave the Gambia €75 million in aid. It is part of some €225 million in support for The Gambia’s economic recovery program.
Gambia’s former President Yahya Jammeh had bitter relations with the EU. More than €33 million had been withheld mainly over human rights concerns. Jammeh expelled EU diplomats, including his Ambassador to the Gambia, Agnès Guillaud.
Jammeh ruled the West African nation with a firm hand since he came to power in a coup some 22 years ago. He has stifled dissent and has faced increased criticism from abroad over issues ranging from human rights to claims he can cure AIDS.
The EU released the frozen €33 million aid fund after Jammeh was defeated in an election and forced to flee to Equatorial Guinea.
Barrow defeated Jammeh in the December 2016 election in Gambia, but his rival refused to accept the result and did not leave the country until two days after Barrow’s inauguration.