A copy of the Independent newspaper

The reprinted story below was the reason why Jammeh sent his jungulars to ransacked the offices of The Independent Newspaper and burned its printing press.

There were also attempts on the lives of the journalists working there. We reproduce the story below with kind permission of the author Sulayman Makalo.

Gambia’s Military Spending, Lowest in West Africa

08 April 2004

By Sulayman Makalo

The Gambia’s military spending, which represents the lowest figure for West Africa has surpassed its investment in agriculture, a recent Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) fact book on the world’s military expenditure over the past one year reveals.

According to the CIA’s Rank Order of Military Expenditure, The Gambia government’s expenditure on military hardware and other equipment and related military incentives stood at $1.2 million as at December 2003, which bypassed its overall expenditure on the country’s agricultural sector, long seen as neglected by a government paying lip-service to it, a piquant observation not overlooked by the CIA, which indicated that the advent of the Second Republic in 1994 witnessed a noticeable shift of emphasis from agriculture to the military. The country’s military spending represents 0.3 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while its expenditure on agriculture constitutes only 2 percent of the GDP, a fact running contrary to what was expected after President Jammeh’s expressed interest to invest robustly in the agriculture, which he saw as the mainstay of the country’s economy.

If the CIA’s Rank Order of Military Expenditure for countries is anything to go by, The Gambia makes the bottom list of countries with the lowest military expenditure. It is ranked 167 out of the 170 countries listed in the CIA fact book. Gambia’s immediate and much larger neighbour Senegal spent $67 million more for the upkeep of its army and until recently to pursue separatist fighters of the MFDC in the southern province of Casamance in the past year. Dakar’s military spending stood at $68, 600, 000 million by the end of last year.

Banjul’s investment in the military only surpasses those of three countries namely Iceland, Sao Tome and Principe, and San Marino.

The military expenditure for other West African countries in dollars as at December 2003 are as follows, Guinea Bissau, $5, 600, 000; Guinea Conakry, $154, 000, 000; Mali, $419, 700, 000; Ghana $36, 010, 000; Togo, $23, 720, 000; Sierra Leone, $10, 260, 000; Cape Verde, $9, 300, 000; Liberia, $7, 800, 000; Ivory Coast, $143, 500, 000, Burkina Faso $45, 850, 000; Mauritania, $37, 110, 000 and Benin $80, 800, 000.

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