Does the Gambia really need scientists?


This is because it is the unprecedented developments in this field that brought about what is called the modern world’. Studies in science have helped us understand the world we live in so that we can use it to its full potential and make innovative discoveries for future generations. In other words we study it to cure diseases, explore new ideas, use the earth’s resources more efficiently, communicate, you name it. Anything that has been discovered or created is because of science and the information it provides us when we study it. In a nutshell, it is the history breaking discoveries in science that salvaged humankind; made us distinct species and defined why man is ranked the most intelligent of all creations. 

Dating back from the hunting and gathering era, science intervened shortly after this period and told us how to produce more crops and ways of preserving our food to meet the ever-increasing population demand on food. It was just good thinking and applying scientific principles that Graham Bell was able to invent and make the first telephone call. And there comes technology which has its roots anchored on science. Those were the days of sending letters to loved ones and unconfirmed rumours and speculations, but with today’s technology, by the click of the mouse and the press of the remote, your world is around you. Or let me agree with them, you live in the perfect dream global village. 

Meanwhile, diseases and infections being as old as history of man have been a big challenge for humanity. Science was to come with what will be called medical field. The latter which is a hybrid of pure sciences is one of the greatest achievements of science. With discoveries in this area, many diseases have been eradicated or cures for diseases that pose a threat to mankind have been found. And life expectancy has risen to a promising level in many countries thanks to developments in science.


Now am sure you started nodding your head. Well it was just a reminder!  Applying scientific laws, another great man came with electricity. This paved the way for industrialisation in the developed world. Hence cars were produced, aircrafts invented, effective ways of mining discovered. Oil drilling started for the hydrocarbons to be used in their fashioned purpose. This undoubtedly made the world a perfect habitat for man.

Now come closer my reader, let me tell you why science is a must for The Gambia. Yes I repeat it’s a must. We either do science or remain underdeveloped for the rest of time. Take my words, regardless of the good leadership we have, despite the peace and tranquillity we enjoy and talk less of the resources we are blessed with, without prioritising science, we will never reach were we want to reach. 

I believe the government of The Gambia need the scientists who will work with them as partners in development. It is high time that The Gambia and Africa in general stopped importing everything. It’s time that that African names got listed in coveted history books of science. I do not mean contesting for a Nobel Prize in sciences! But we should produce something that the world will murmur about. Do not tell me we lack the resources. What about the developed world? They started with little innovations then research and time improved it. If we recognise the importance of science that is; sponsor research projects, encourage our children to study science and science graduates sacrifice their time and get involved in research and experiments, in the near future we will produce something. Yes we will. We will at least come with something that may be anything that can improve the lives of our people.

The Gambia needs the engineers that will mechanise our agriculture, the physicists that will perfect our electricity system and the doctors to standardise our healthcare system. If we have the scientists that are doing well in key areas, our beloved country will be industrialised, government expenditure will be highly reduced and the economy will grow like wildfire. And I want to believe where all politicians failed on uniting Africa; scientists can do that. If the continent has ‘classic’ scientists, that will help make basic facilities available to all; where poverty will be no more in Africa, diseases a thing of the past and famine history, then uniting this continent will be less difficult.

Take for instance if all oil producing nations have firms that drill their own oil and minerals, rich countries get local mining firms, all revenues collected from these resources will not have to be shared. I am sure you are not unaware what happened in some African countries where mineral-rich regions were under the command of naughty ‘sponsored’ rebels who shed blood at the expense of their own people. I am suggesting that Africa should counter-attack by producing scientists which I see as one way of solving Mama Africa’s never-ending problems.


For me I am done. It’s up to you after reading this article to make your judgement either to support and encourage our young people to do science or make them believe that Africa will continue to import till the end of time. And there again I ask does The Gambia really need scientists?


Edrissa Baldeh is a graduate of the University of The Gambia. He now works at the Food Safety and Quality Authority of The Gambia.