“Our project addresses three components, which include advocating for the passage of a comprehensive tobacco control bill, strengthening the coordination and monitoring mechanism for effective tobacco control in The Gambia, and building RAID’s institutional capacities,” said Mr Samboujang Conteh, Executive Director of RAID The-Gambia.
The Gambia has several tobacco control laws that are not fully FCTC compliant. However, the country has recently proven to be a tobacco control leader in the region thanks to reforms to reduce the demand for tobacco products.
Tobacco taxes increased
For example, since 2013 the government has embarked on aligning its tobacco tax policies to meet the recommendations of FCTC article 6 by, for instance, introducing a 15-percent ad valorem tobacco tax rate in 2014.
According to Mr Conteh, apart from enhancing the tobacco control capacities of RAID’s staff and some legal officers, in the course of the project RAID will partner with the Multi Sectoral Working Group to advocate for the passage of a comprehensive FCTC-compliant law. The working group brings together state and non-state actors working in tobacco control.
Though industry interference isn’t a major focus of the project, RAID hopes to address recent efforts by Philip Morris International – the major tobacco company in the country – to interfere with the ongoing tobacco control legislative process.
The project falls under a three-year grant by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the African Capacity Building Foundation to support strategic sub-grant making and capacity building of civil society organizations in order to advance tobacco control in Africa.