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Campaigners call for transparency from Gambia’s lenders

• Comment on revelation that Gambia’s debt is $1 billion

The Gambian government have said that former President Yahya Jammeh stole at least $50 million, and left the government with a debt of $1 billion. The most recent figure from the IMF is that the Gambia’s total government debt is $881 million.

Commenting on the statements from the Gambian government, Sarah Jayne Clifton, Director of the Jubilee Debt Campaign, said:

“The figures released today suggest over $100 million of debt has been hidden. A full transparent audit of the debt is needed to find out its true scale, reveal who facilitated these loans, and to help track down any stolen money hidden in tax havens and secrecy jurisdictions.

Following in the wake of Mozambique’s hidden debt scandal, this is yet more evidence of the urgent need for stronger transparency around international lending to governments to help tackle irresponsible lending and corrupt borrowing and end the boom bust cycle of debt crises.

New rules are needed in major financial centres, such as the UK, to ensure all loans to governments are publicly disclosed at the time they are given.”

A government debt of $1 billion would amount to 120% of Gambia’s GDP.

The IMF currently list the Gambia’s government debt as 99% of GDP, $881 million.

The most recently available figures say that of Gambia’s government debt, around 54% is owed outside the country, and 46% within Gambia. This would mean that of $1 billion of debt, $540 million is owed externally and $460 million domestically.

The most recent figures from the World Bank and IMF are that Gambia’s government external debt is $467 million. Of this:

• $349 million is owed to multilateral institutions such as the World Bank, IMF and African Development Bank
• $112 million is owed to other governments
• $6 million is owed to private creditors


Countries

Gambia
Jubilee Debt Campaign is a company limited by guarantee, number 3201959
Jubilee Debt Campaign's registered charity number is 1055675