This week’s guest is Jeffrey Smith, executive director of Vanguard Africa, a startup nonprofit that provides campaign advice and public relations support to pro-democracy leaders in Africa.
Smith aims to bring the international spotlight to Gambia, which is recovering from a more than two-decades-long dictatorship. Political and civil rights were nonexistent during the presidency of Yahya Jammeh, a former military officer who ruled the country from 1994 to 2016 . Vanguard Africa partnered with Gambia’s presidential candidates in 2016 to campaign against Jammeh, who lost the election.
Despite this accomplishment, Smith says Vanguard Africa’s work in Gambia is unfinished; a country cannot transition from dictatorship to democracy overnight. The nonprofit is now focused on holding the new government accountable. To aide with the transition, CIPE has partnered with the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry to establish a national business council for the private sector.