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The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group recently attended the endorsement of The Gambia’s 2008–2011 civil service reform strategy. The strategy was presented to the National Assembly by the country’s Vice President and Secretary of State for Civil Service, Isatou Njie-Saidy. The event was attended by members of the diplomatic corps accredited to The Gambia and representatives of the country’s development partners.
Represented by its Senegal field office resident representative, Mohamed H’Midouche, the event brought together representatives of development partners such as the UNDP, the World Bank, DFID, CFTC, the EU, Spain and the UK who expressed interest in providing support to the strategy’s implementation. AfDB support to the civil service reform in the country has come through its participation in the preparation of a study titled: “The Gambia: Improving Civil Service Performance’’ which was prepared last year in collaboration with the World Bank and DFID. AfDB’s budget support programme approved in January 2009 focuses on public financial management and a UA 3 million grant for civil service reform in addition to addressing the food crisis with a UA 1 million grant. One of the disbursement triggers of the UA 3 million grant is related to civil service reform and has been fulfilled, according to the 2009 budget.
The ultimate goal of the reform initiative is to build a well-motivated, efficient, accountable and responsive civil service, with adequate resources. The initiative also seeks to strengthen the capacity to formulate policies, rationally allocate scarce resources as well as deliver efficient and quality service to the public. The strategy underscores the urgent need for equitable and sustainable policies to produce a stringent recruitment regime, cost effective retention strategy, salary and allowance reform, robust performance management system, comprehensive training policy, effective succession planning mechanism, and a revised pension scheme for a competent and professional civil service. The following four programmes have been adopted to achieve these strategic objectives: personnel management policies, processes and capabilities, pay reform, performance management and policy management.
Along with the country’s governance, financial framework and general guidelines, the strategy was approved by The Gambian cabinet at its 5th meeting on November 13, 2008 with the exception of pay proposals. As an interim measure, the country’s president had approved the allocation of Dalasi 50 million to be shared by all grades with Dalasi 30 million for Grades 1-6, and Dalasi 20 million for Grades 7 to fixed grades.
The strategy and its implementation are estimated to cost US$ 9.6 and it will be funded by the Spanish government through the UN Democratic Governance Thematic Trust Fund for US$ 1.8 million. The government had already signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the UNDP on November 30, 2007, with regard to this initial allocation. About US$770,000 has, since February 19, 2009, been provided for disbursement.