altThe University of the Gambia (UTG) today became the Virtual Insititute's 44th core university member, and the ninth academic institution to represent a Least Developed Country in the network.

We owe the first contact with UTG to Alaye Barra, student of the Master in International and Development Economics at Vi German university member, the University of Applied Sciences Berlin, who got interested in the Virtual Institute during a study visit to UNCTAD. The subsequent discussions with the university were championed by UTG's Momodou Jatta, who has now been appointed Vi member coordinator.

The University of the Gambia was established in 1999 to respond to the needs of the country for qualified graduates to contribute to its economic development. The policy of the University also gives due consideration to the training of the next generation of Gambian academics.

The Vi's counterpart at UTG will be the School of Business and Public Administration, in particular its Department of Economics and Management. The Department offers a Bachelor's degree in Economics with a number of courses relating to the issues covered by UNCTAD and the Virtual Institute. Among them are courses on money, banking and capital markets; international economics; environmental economics; international monetary economics; development economics, agricultural and resource economics; industrial economics; and courses related to quantitative methods in economics. On offer is also an MBA conducted in distance-learning mode. The current areas of research at the Department include FDI and regional integration.

The cooperation with the Vi at UTG will be coordinated by Jatta, who has a Master's degree in Public Sector Administration and is responsible for courses on principles of economics and introduction to public administration.

Three other colleagues will support him in the cooperation with the Vi. Momodou Mustapha Fanneh, holder of a PhD in Economics, teaches courses on development economics, international economics, advanced microeconomics, capital markets and portfolio theory, and money, banking and capital markets. He has published on issues related to FDI and FTAs, and is currently working on the links between FDI and infrastructure development, and economic growth in the Gambia. Yaya S. Jallow teaches a course on macroeconomic policies, and economic recovery program in the Gambia. Christopher Belford holds a Master’s in Agricultural Economics, and teaches courses in microeconomics, research methods, and business mathematics.

The University is interested in training for its staff, with a view to gradually build the capacity for a Master’s in Economics; access to teaching and learning materials; support to research on trade and development in the Gambia, and on the impact of FDI and the use of technology; and exchange visits within the Vi academic network for its students.

For more on UTG, visit the university's profile on the Vi website.