The Gambia government and United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP) have come together in a move to close the poverty and inequality gap in the country as they signed an implementation programme for Accelerated Community Development.

The Gambia is a country home to nearly two million people, half of the population live below the poverty line and thousands of whom live from hand-to-mouth. More than 60% of Gambians depend on agriculture for their livelihoods.

The Programme for Accelerated Community Development (PACD) is an initiative to fast track social service provisions to communities that are less privileged.

“With the overall objective of closing the poverty and inequality gaps in rural communities, the PACD will start with an initial $5 million provided by the Government of The Gambia and partners,” a statement said.

The initiative seeks to help rural communities in five regions of North Bank, Central River, Lower River, Upper River, and West Coast Regions with access to water, electricity, feeder roads and labour-saving devices to boost food security.

In a signing ceremony at State House on Wednesday the government officials described it as “timely as many rural communities are in urgent need of such basic social services. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the access to water component of PACD is a real emergency for deprived communities and thus the urgency of the PACD processes.”

Stakeholders in the implementation of PACD include the Ministry of Infrastructure and Works and the National Roads Authority, Ministries of Agriculture, Energy and NAWEC, Water Resources, Women, Children and Social Welfare, and Regional Government and Lands.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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