Gambia Becomes 25th African Country to Adopt Access to Information Law

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President Adama Barrow of The Gambia

President Adama Barrow has signed The Gambia’s Access to Information (ATI) Bill into law making the country the 25th African nation to adopt an access to information law. This is the culmination of five years of stakeholders’ engagements led by the Gambia Press Union (GPU), which through the CSO Coalition on ATI, campaigned for such a legislation on access to information.

The Gambia is the last Anglophone West African country to pass an ATI law and thus leaves Senegal and Guinea Bissau as the only two countries in the West African sub region without an access to information law.

After signing the Bill into law on August 25, 2021, President Barrow tweeted: “Today, I delivered on a campaign pledge. The #Right to #Information Bill was signed into law. My government is devoted to transparency and accountability and believes that #Gambians have the right to information.”

The Bill was presented to the Gambia National Assembly in December 2019 by Hon. Dawda Jallow and the Assembly passed the into Law on July 1, 2021 and sent to President Barrow for his assent.

Welcoming the development, Chairperson of the CSO Coalition on ATI, Mr. John Charles Njie said: “The Access to Information law as signed by President Barrow is in line with the wishes of many Gambians based on the feedback we gathered during the numerous consultations and sensitizations on the ATI across the length and breadth of the country.”

Mr. Njie expressed the optimism that all stakeholders will join hands to ensure that the law is implemented for the benefit of all Gambians, saying: “We hope that all individuals entrusted with the role of information dissemination will endeavour to dutifully uphold the rule of law.”

Other African countries with access to information laws and the year they were passed are as follows:

  1. South Africa    – 2000
  2. Zimbabwe       – 2002
  3. Angola            – 2002
  4. Uganda           – 2005
  5. Ethiopia           – 2008
  6. Liberia – 2010
  7. Nigeria            – 2011
  8. Niger               – 2011
  9. Tunisia             – 2011
  10. Sierra Leone    – 2013
  11. Rwanda           – 2013
  12. South Sudan    – 2013
  13. Ivory Coast     – 2013
  14. Mozambique   – 2014
  15. Burkina Faso   – 2015
  16. Benin               – 2015
  17. Sudan              – 2015
  18. Kenya  – 2016
  19. Tanzania          – 2016
  20. Togo                – 2016
  21. Malawi            – 2017
  22. Seychelles       – 2018
  23. Morocco          – 2018
  24. Ghana  – 2019