Nigeria, Gambia to set up technical committees on implementation of MoU

Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh

Nigeria and Gambia on Saturday agreed to set up technical committees for the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote trade, investment and best practice.

The Nigeria Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Aisha Al-Hassan, made this known in New York at the end of a meeting.

The meeting was called by Nigeria on the implementation of the bi-lateral agreement in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The minister said women, the aged and people living with disabilities from both countries are targeted in the MoU.

Mrs Al-Hassan said the MoU, which was signed on March 12, 2015, did not come into effect, because it did not capture the problems of insurgency.

The minister acknowledged that the two countries had gone a long way together.

“We are here to look at the MoU again and make more inputs into it for effective implementation.

“The implementation committee would comprise of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, NGOs and relevant Ministries to execute the MoU.

“We also expect the Gambia to set up their own committee and we will later meet with them on the operation of the MoU.

“We are going to make changes here and there. It is a good move; it will strengthen ties between Nigeria and The Gambia.

“We want to ensure the welfare of women in Nigeria and The Gambia, as well as the most vulnerable and children,’’ Mrs Al-Hassan said.

She said gender inequality impeded efforts towards the attainment of sustainable national development.

“Reducing gender inequality is critical for improving the social and economic situation of marginalised groups through among others, access to social services, wage employment and control over productive resources,” she added.

Also speaking, Isatou Njie-Saidy, Vice President of The Gambia, said there were many Nigerian women doing business in The Gambia, and that some of them had been in that country for generations.

“I thank the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the cooperation that we have shared.

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”We’ve always seen Nigeria as big brother and I can assure you that following this review today, we will work head-on on the programmes,’’ she said.

The Gambian government, she said, recognised gender equality and women empowerment as a key factor for the attainment of social and economic development.

She said that as a result, a number of measures were taken to mainstream women in the development process.

Among such measures, she said, was the establishment of the National Women’s Council and Bureau by the Council Act of 1980.

Njie-Saidy, who is also the Minister of Women Affairs, said that a National Policy for the Advancement of Gambian Women (NPAGW 1999-2009) was formulated and provided a legitimate point of reference for addressing gender inequalities at all levels of government and all stakeholders.

The Gambia, she added, had come out with ‘Best Practices’ in public reform or good governance efforts that fully integrate a gender perspective.

Nigeria and The Gambia had signed the MoU, to promote trade, investment and best practice among women, the aged and people living with disabilities from both countries.

The MoU was signed on the sidelines of the UN Commission on Status of Women, tagged Beijing +20, which was 20 years after the Beijing Women Conference of 1995 took place in the Chinese capital.

The Understanding seeks to empower women, children, the disabled and the elderly in both countries, as well as promote increased trade among women in the two countries. (NAN)

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