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No conditions attached to a €1.45 billion development pledge

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Gambia’s Vice President, Fatoumatta Jallow-Tambajang has moved to allay widespread fears that there may be conditions attached to a €1.45 billion development pledge by the international community to fix its broken economy.The European Union and other international institutions made the monumental pledge at a donor conference convened in Brussels on Tuesday to raise funds for The Gambia which is dealing with the implications of decades of authoritarian rule much of it in global isolation.

In a response to widespread speculation about the possible conditions for the funding, the VP made a televised statement on Thursday, making it unequivocally clear that there was to be no baggage linked to the offer, the largest in the history of the international community’s engagement with The Gambia.

Although news of the mouthwatering windfall expected from international agencies following the historic pledge was greeted with quiet jubilation, a weary suspicion had lingered, refusing to be dispelled about the supposedly hidden motives for “so ridiculous a largesse for such a small country”.

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In some Gambian circles, there are fears that Western nations had dangled it as a condition for the liberalization of same-sex relations in countries like The Gambia where the practice is illegal.

Gambians are part of a cynical world refusing to put aside its suspicion that Western capitals always have a slew of intrigues up their sleeves to render sodomy acceptable globally.

The VP said the government will follow up the pledges which will cover a three-year time span with the implementation of its five-year National Development Plan (NDP) seeking to transform the country into a vibrant and prosperous economy.

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