Let me first say that these problems are surmountable. We all know that every country in the world has at some point in time lived through fragility, be it social, political or economic. The recent sad events in South Africa and the death of thousand of African migrants in the Mediterranean Sea remind us of the urgency to find enduring solutions in order to ensure that our continent achieves durable and sustainable development. Even as the continent continues to show clear signs of vulnerability, because of tensions such as poverty, exclusion and disenfranchised youth, the discussion to salvage our continent is ongoing. I must say here that this discussion will incite forward-looking solutions which will mitigate the drivers of the continent’s challenges. Africa holds a lot of potential for its people and there is growing understanding of the need to tap into this potential. Its resource base is quite huge and the onus is on us to ensure that it is fully tapped and goes to where it is most needed. At country level, it is important that we tailor solutions according to the nature of its economic, social and political fragility. While there is acceptance of high-level ambition to achieve this, there is also need to promote national visions that can inspire citizens and mobilise their support for sacrifices. Moreover, emphasis should at the same time be placed on regional integration for increased transformation including financing and building regional infrastructure, trade facilitation and political leadership.
Modou Lamin Ceesay,
We must save our tourism now
Our tourism industry is going through one of the worst periods in its history. Arrivals and revenues have dropped sharply. Hotels and tour firms have laid off workers to levels never seen before after the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease in our region. This is very unfortunate but now that the outbreak has slowed in its pace, we must not drag our feet on this crisis that threatens not only the livelihoods of hundreds of Gambians, but the economic stability of the country as well. One wonders what it will take for us to act to save this vital economic sector. The much-hyped measures announced by the stakeholders to revive tourism should deliver results.
There is a need for us to follow up to ensure that the proposed interventions are fully implemented. The ministry tasked with the tourism sector should effectively oversee the realisation of these proposals. The sector players should sustain pressure on the government to save tourism as it is vital to the national economy. Any further delays to implement measures to revive the sector will have far-reaching negative implications on the economy. Everything possible must be done to get the sector out of the woods. The ball is squarely in the court of the government, specifically the Ministry of Tourism to save our tourism.