On November 3, this year, there was another surprise postponement of the launching of West Africa’s single currency. The Eco was scheduled to be launched next month as was announced. That was the third time the launch of the Eco was suspended due to what they called non-fulfillment of financial responsibilities by member countries.
The Eco, if launched, may become the fifth largest currency in the world as it is going to be used by about 16 countries. The common currency, free market, peace and security are among the major goals to be achieved by the Ecowas when it was created in 1975. The only country that was said to have fulfilled its financial requirement for the creation of the Eco was Nigeria. Others like Ghana were close to the target, while the rest were nowhere near the target.
Single currency is good. The recent development in the European monetary union is a case study and a lesson why the terms and rules before setting up a joint currency must be drawn out. If created, the Eco may come close to the United States dollars in terms of value.
Countries like The Gambia, Togo and Burkina Faso stand to benefit more, while the likes of Ghana and Senegal will be among those to cover for those who did not meet up their annual financial requirements. The Gambia like all other members must fulfill its obligations to ensure greater success. Currently, The Gambia is missing out on all but two criteria and it will have to do more to show that it is serious to be part of the union. It should also be ready to be a leader and associate itself with the regulations of the Eco.
Gambian students and self-development
Please allow me space in your widely read newspaper to write on the sad but popular issue of our Gambian students and self-development. The education sector in The Gambia has undergone many changes since Yahya Jammeh became president. But over the same period, the saying that our graduates have become unemployable has been proved to be true. The question remains, is the growing worry over their unemployment justified?
The sad truth is that many senior secondary and university graduates in the country are unemployed, due to a myriad of reasons. The problems facing Gambian students are quite much and would take more than a post-graduate thesis to even dissect them. Most of these students on their own have always called for reforms and a holistic approach to tackle unemployment among graduates. While I would encourage the best environment conducive to employment creation, I believe students themselves still have some corrective measures which they have to undergo.
There are organisations concerned with community work and charity, some of which develop students’ business sense and acumen, among other things. One thing very common to these groups is that they develop a student’s planning ability, self-confidence and expose them to scenarios where their thinking faculty and leadership skills are challenged. But not all students who develop themselves belong to such organisations. A lot of students have continued to wow the students community with their creativity and business savvy, most of them have gone on to create a brand for themselves. These are students who came to learn and are really learning.