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Training and Peer Learning workshop on Infrastructure Asset Management for local and central government officials in the Gambia

The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) organized a workshop on infrastructure asset management in Banjul from 12-15 June 2023. This workshop took place as part of the global (implemented in several countries) joint UN DESA, UNCDF, and UNOPS project "Enhancing the resilience, accessibility and sustainability of infrastructure assets in developing countries along the Belt and Road initiative in support of the 2030 Agenda" (Referred to as UN-Infrastructure Asset Management: UN-IAM) .The Gambia is the first country hosting the project in West Africa.

The capacity building on Infrastructure Asset Management is critical in developing countries notably in The Gambia. Underinvestment in maintenance of infrastructure has been estimated to cost some developing economies up to 2 % growth in GDP. Underbudgeted and under-maintained infrastructure assets are more likely to fail, disrupting essential services like transport, water and sanitation or solid waste management. Such vulnerabilities have been particularly evident during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has put additional strain on infrastructure assets like hospitals, IT, energy grids and water and sanitation systems to respond to the pandemic and its economic and social impacts.

With the participation of regional area councils and local government officials from - regions (Brikama, Kerewan, Mansakonko, Jangjangbureh, Kuntaur and Basse), the event was inaugurated by Lands, Local Government and Religious Affairs Minister Hon. Abba Sanyang represented by Ms. Fatou Gibba, Director of the Department of Community Development (DCD). 54 participants were drawn from several central government institutions and and local governments like Banjul City Council, Kanifing Municipal counil, Brikama Area Council, Kerewan Area council, Mansakonko Area council, Jangjangbureh Area council, Kuntaur Area council, Basse Area council, Department of Community Development (DCD), Gambia Association of Local Government Authorities (GALGA) and National Disaster Management Agency (NDAMA).
The training aimed to:

Enhance capacity among central and local government officials Understand and initiate the application of infrastructure asset management toolkits of the Handbook in support of the sustainable development Design and formally adopt a participatory multiyear AMAP for each local government.

Partner agencies provided updates on the on ongoing work regarding their Municipal Infrastructure Asset Management. Over three days, the training included presentations and exhaustive discussions on asset management concepts, basics, and climate resilience related aspects. Trainees were initiated to Asset Management diagnostic tools and AMAPs concepts and elaboration steps and worked interactively on defining AMAPs for critical infrastructures identified at the level of their local governments.

According toMr. Landing B Sanneh, President of GALGA: "As custodians of decentralized structures and grassroot development in The Gambia, the training on Asset Management has yet again provided our Asset Managers with the requisite knowledge on asset management and its contributing value to the growth and development of the various councils. Providing such an important training will pave the way for our cherished target to set up space to build the foundation for change in Councils, which will include the proper management of Councils' assets with effective and efficient service delivery".

UN-IAM interventions in The Gambia will help local and national entities to adopt better infrastructure asset management practices.UNCDF will therefore promote:

the integration of the financial, human and material resource needed to conduct proper infrastructure asset management into public investment strategies to strengthen the sustainability of public investments. good asset management to also support debt sustainability: Sound infrastructure asset management practices lower long-term public expenditures tied to asset failures, increase their revenue potential and foster creditworthiness of local and national governments.

"Sustainable infrastructure management is one the highest Gambian local governments expressed and observed needs, this workshop aims to design and launch the implementation of realistic plans to face this matter. At UNCDF, we are eager to assess how it will work and committed to enhance and tailor our future actions with our UN project partners accordingly" said Issam Chariag, Program officer at UNCDF.

As planned, the major output of the workshop was a participatory multiyear AMAPs for each local government designed and formally adopted. To ensure the process continuity, an asset management champion by local government has been designated to lead the refinement, finalization, and implementation of the AMAP in their areas, UN partner agencies will accompany the process and provide the needed support for each of the six local governments.


Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF).
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