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Gambia president warns of economic slowdown

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Gambian President Adama Barrow warned Thursday that the coronavirus pandemic is causing an economic slowdown and slumping tax revenues in the tiny West African state.

In a state of the union address, Barrow also said that planned oil drilling operations -- a potential economic boost for the poor country -- have been suspended until 2021 over coronavirus-related uncertainty.

"The indication is that we are in health, economic and social crisis that will linger on into the future, and a situation that we may have to live with," the 55-year-old president said.

Barrow came to power in 2017 after winning an election against The Gambia's former dictator Yahya Jammeh, who subsequently fled the country.

On Thursday, the president said that the GDP-growth rate would slow from six to two percent this year, according to an initial analysis.

Revenue-earning institutions have also been "crippled," he added, pointing to a 20-percent shortfall in tax receipts and import duties this year.

The Gambia is a nation of some two million people, where 48 percent of people live in poverty, according to World Bank data from 2015.

The bank has also pointed to the potential for a "severe" virus-related economic contraction in the former British colony, which is heavily reliant on foreign tourism.


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