The European Union Delegation in The Gambia bids farewell to Stephane Meert, who has successfully concluded a remarkable five-year tenure of service in The Gambia as the Head of Cooperation. During his tenure, Mr. Meert played a pivotal role in strengthening the EU-Gambia development partnership and fostering significant strides towards sustainable growth and democratic progress.
Arriving in The Gambia in 2018, he brought exceptional leadership and commitment to furthering the collaborative efforts between the European Union and The Gambia. Under Mr. Meert’s guidance, the EU-Gambia development portfolio witnessed an extraordinary transformation.
Over the past five years, Mr. Meert has been instrumental in overseeing the implementation of the European Union’s cooperation strategy, which revolves around three essential priority areas:
1. Promoting Good Governance: Under Stephane’s leadership, the European Union has steadfastly supported the democratic transition processes ongoing in The Gambia. This includes efforts to strengthen democratic institutions, promote rule of law, and enhance the capacities of key institutions such as the National Assembly and the National Human Rights Commission. He has also been actively engaged in supporting the Security Sector Reform and the transitional justice process. This commitment to good governance has been critical in ensuring The Gambia’s progress toward becoming a strong and inclusive democracy.
2. Green Economy for Sustainable Growth and Jobs: Stephane’s tenure has witnessed significant strides in addressing climate change, environmental degradation, and biodiversity loss. He has led initiatives to mainstream climate change considerations into national development policies and has worked towards sustainable agricultural practices, renewable energy adoption, and urban development that considers environmental impacts. These efforts have contributed to the creation of green jobs, enhanced resilience to climate change, and a more sustainable and inclusive economy.
3. Human Development: Stephane has been a driving force behind the European Union’s work in the advancement of human development in The Gambia. Through his efforts, the European Union has supported programs aimed at empowering youth, women, and girls. His initiatives have sought to improve the quality of education, increase female representation among teachers, and foster social protection schemes to reduce inequalities and alleviate poverty. He has also championed efforts to enhance sanitation services and urban development, contributing to a healthier and more inclusive society.
Throughout his tenure, Mr. Meert also worked collaboratively to address migration challenges, focusing on creating job opportunities for Gambian youth and promoting legal pathways.
A standout achievement under Mr. Meert’s leadership is the Tekki Fii Program. The Tekki Fii campaign was more than a program; it was a movement by Gambians, for Gambians, and served as a testament to the commitment of the EU-Gambia partnership in creating opportunities for the country’s youth. This program aimed to change the paradigm of the economic development and future prospects for The Gambia’s young population, including returning migrants. By fostering attractive employment and income opportunities, the program sought to encourage young Gambians to choose to “make it” at home. The decline in irregular arrivals of Gambians to European shores was a testament to the impact of these initiatives. The Tekki Fii programme was praised by HE President Barrow as the biggest entrepreneurship and jobs creator of the country.
As Stephane concludes his service in The Gambia, he leaves behind a legacy of dedication, partnership, and transformative progress. His tireless efforts have contributed significantly to The Gambia’s path toward becoming a genuine democracy with a reconciled and peaceful society.
The European Union Delegation in The Gambia expresses its heartfelt gratitude to Mr. Stephane Meert for his exceptional leadership and commitment over the past five years. His contributions will continue to resonate in the progress and future growth of The Gambia.