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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

A national dialogue is imperative: A sustainable Gambia is at stake – we need to talk!

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By Abdoulie Bojang

Sustainable development- a development that serves today and will not undermine the desires of future generations’ development desires and taste. This type of development is what was and still is envisaged by the Brundtland report.

The Brundtland Commission; is the commission that brought about a more widely accepted definition of sustainable development and with set goals referred to as Sustainable Development Goals-SDGs anchored on the three fundamental pillars: social, economic, and environmental pillars for the realization of sustainable development is now more than three decades and much of its set goals is unattained.

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The World Commission on Environment and Development- WCED Report which later widely became known as Brundtland Report defines sustainable development as:

ā€œDevelopment that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”

In the case of The Gambia;

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Thirty years on, what position are we in?

What have we done with the millions of grants and loans to deliver a sustainable Gambia?

What are we doing with our endowments- river Gambia, sand, gravel, peace, youthful populace, social values, and customs for a sustainable Gambia?

Where are we today; and where do we really want to be in the future- a sustainable Gambia?

Why are we addicted to an import-based economy?

Why is robbing Peter to pay Paul our number one approach to addressing public grievances?

With all the arable land, and youthful populace; is importing rice, oil, and others, not a misplaced priority and economic blunder of the government?

Why is the government having a dependent mindset?

Why are we religious but not pious?

Our unfortunate situation is such that we have started to gasp for breath socially, economically, and environmentally. This is one of the reasons we need to dialogue; nationally.

Again, the surge in certain foreign investments and their taste for strategic lands and other resources are a cause for concern for us all; if sustainable Gambia is our priority. Most of these investments in the name of development are saprophytic and unsustainable with capital flight killing our currency- the Gambian dalasi. Suppose we do not want a recolonization of our country;  it is high time we started to look into investors buying our strategic lands instead of leasing or doing partnerships of mutual and sustainable benefits to families, communities, and individuals. A review of our foreign investment policy is urgently needed to get the business and investment world to give our country its rightful place and benefit in terms of what we can get from foreign companies looting from our poor in the name of business and paying taxes to the government, our servants.

Are government is largely saprophytic to the Gambian diaspora. A review of our Gambian diaspora remittances and investments is equally important. Most have lost millions in name of investing back home. To be fair and protective of these great sons and daughters; regulations and political will to organize, coordinate and implement a Gambia diaspora investment initiative must be done and it should now.

Honestly, I wonder how our peace, security, youthful populace, and other resources benefited us more than private and foreign predatory players?

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