UNCTAD’s Virtual Institute gains ninth LDC university member

19 April 2013

The University of the Gambia (UTG) has become the forty-fourth core university member of the Virtual Institute (Vi), and the ninth academic institution to represent a Least Developed Country in the network.​

Contact between UTG and the Vi was first made by Alaye Barra - a student on the Master in International and Development Economics course at Vi German university member, the University of Applied Sciences Berlin - who became 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 country's need for qualified graduates to contribute to its economic development. The policy of the University also gives due consideration to training 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, for which a number of the courses relate to issues covered by UNCTAD and the Virtual Institute. Among these are courses on money, banking and capital markets; international economics; environmental economics; international monetary economics; development economics; agricultural and resource economics; and industrial economics; as well as courses related to quantitative methods in economics. Also on offer is an MBA conducted in distance-learning mode. Current areas of research at the Department include foreign direct investment (FDI) and regional integration.

The cooperation with the Vi at UTG will be coordinated by Jatta, who holds a master's degree in Public Sector Administration, and is responsible for Principles of Economics and Introduction to Public Administration courses.

Three other colleagues will support Jatta 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 free trade agreements, 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, as well as a course on the economic recovery programme in the Gambia. Christopher Belford holds a master's degree 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 building the capacity for a master's degree in economics; access to teaching and learning materials; support for 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.