Adama Barrow Sworn-in for 2nd Term, Vows to Jumpstart Gambia’s Economy

Adama Barrow, the president of the Gambia, was sworn in for a second five-year term on Wednesday. He pledged to push for broad-based economic growth and ensure broad-based development gains.

The 56-year-old displaced his autocratic predecessor Yahya Jammeh at the polls and came to power in 2017. Last month, he easily won re-election with 53% of the voting in the first round.

In his first term, he restored many civil liberties that had been repressed during Jammeh’s 22-year tenure and improved relations with a number of foreign countries.

As the president of the smallest country in mainland Africa, he faced many challenges to revive its economy. The coronavirus pandemic in 2020 caused the economy to go into recession, keeping tourists away from its coastline.

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It is estimated that the economy grew by around 5% last year.

Barrow, who was dressed in a white cap and robe, after being sworn in before an audience that included several other West African heads of state, said his re-election was “a vote of confidence in my government, a vote of acknowledgement of my achievements.” 

He added, “2022 to 2027 is a period to press on for accelerated growth, expansion and advancement. The focus now centres on economic development.” 

He reaffirmed his commitment to present a new constitution. Previously, he said the bill would introduce presidential term limits, but did not say whether he would be barred from seeking additional terms. 

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Many of Gambia’s neighbours to the west have struggled with presidential term limits, including Ivory Coast and Guinea, whose presidents changed their constitutions in 2020 to allow themselves to stay in office beyond the two-term limit.

In 2016, Barrow pledged to serve only three years if elected but later went back on that promise.

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