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Op-Ed: Gambia's Utilities: Tourists in the Dark, Residents Frustrated

Written by Sebastien van der Meer | Busumbala, Gambia

The allure of Gambian beaches is undeniable, but for tourists and residents alike, the promise of paradise is frequently dimmed by unreliable utilities. Daily power cuts and inconsistent water flow plague the nation, raising concerns about economic stagnation and public health.

NAWEC, the national water and electricity provider, has received significant foreign investment in recent years. However, these funds haven't translated into a consistent supply. Blackouts remain commonplace, leaving entire neighborhoods without power and disrupting businesses critical to the tourism industry - a major pillar of the Gambian economy. 

"Imagine running a restaurant and freezers full of food spoiling every time the power goes out," lamented Awa Ceesay, owner of a popular eatery in Busumbala. "Tourists come here for relaxation, not to sweat in the dark."

The impact goes beyond economics. Inconsistent water flow makes proper hygiene practices difficult, raising public health concerns.  NAWEC's communication with customers regarding outages and planned maintenance is also lacking, leaving residents feeling frustrated and uninformed.

"We deserve better," said resident Lamin Jallow. "These days, a fridge or computer isn't a luxury, it's a necessity.  But with the power surges after an outage, they keep getting fried." 

Experts point out that NAWEC's monopoly on utilities may be hindering progress.  Introducing qualified foreign competition could bring fresh ideas and accelerate improvements. 

The Gambian government and NAWEC face a critical choice. Continued investment in infrastructure upgrades, improved communication, and exploring the possibility of a more open market are essential steps towards a brighter future.

Only with reliable utilities can The Gambia truly thrive, ensuring the well-being of its residents and the continued success of its vital tourism industry.

Editor's note: The opinions expressed here belong to the author and may not reflect the perspectives of Have an opinion piece you'd like to publish? Email it to


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Copyright: 2017 - 2022 | GunjurOnline™
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