Panafrican News Agency

Gambia: UNDP supports tourism industry workers

Banjul, Gambia (PANA) – The United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) Gambian office has agreed to support the government in extending financial assistance to all those who participated in the Rapid Response Assessment (RRA) conducted by The Gambian Bureau of Statistics (GBoS) in collaboration with the Gambia Tourism Board (GTBoard).

The sum of D16, 837,867.50 was remitted by UNDP directly to Africell’s account on the 28August 2020 and the list of beneficiaries sent to the latter for the necessary action.

The cash transfer will commence within the next few days and the beneficiaries referred to above will receive a one-off payment of $50, said the statement made available to PANA Wednesday by  the Ministry of Tourism and Culture.

“Realizing the urgent need to provide assistance to the hard-hit tourism industry workers, it was agreed after protracted discussions, that a one-off cash transfer of $50 will be made to all the identified beneficiaries who could be reached within the prescribed time and who could come up with valid Africell mobile numbers.

“Although the Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MoTC) upon verification of the list of identified beneficiaries in the Rapid Response Assessment Report held the view that a good number of Tourism industry workers were left out in the assessment that should be considered, further discussions between UNDP and GBoS did not change the situation,” the statement said.

Gambia cellphone company Africell, the agency identified by UNDP to make the cash transfers through AfriMoney, will do so for beneficiaries with phone numbers initially totaling 6572 beneficiaries. But, according to an Africell number verification process, only 6427 numbers were usable when they were ready to kick start the transfer exercise.

According to the statement, the COVID-19 pandemic and its resultant total shutdown of the tourism industry in The Gambia, like other destinations worldwide, continues to compound the menace of unemployment in The Gambia. The tourism industry is the hardest hit as employees and small-scale enterprise owners risked loss of jobs, income and livelihoods.

The statement also said the participants were divided into two groups; the first comprised individuals working in the informal sector of the tourism industry and the second were employees laid off from tourism institutions.


-0-       PANA     MSS/RA    2Sept2020