In an exclusive interview with The Standard earlier this week, he said: “One thing I always say is that we should celebrate our own. We should celebrate success. The general thinking is that they (Gambian entrepreneurs) prosper outside because they have a bigger market. But I am also of the view that as Theodore Roosevelt said ‘do what you can with what you have where you are’. No Gambian including myself ever decided who our parents were going to be but you can make a choice as to the kind of parent you want to be. The whole idea is, what are you going to make out of your life and Steven Cobway says we come to this world for four things: live, learn, love and leave a legacy. I for one believe that The Gambia within a generation can be a highly developed country. I believe we have human talent. I believe in a small nation things can happen very fast. The Gambia has the potential to emerge as a middle income country, as a heaven on earth provided that we have a serious paradigm shift as it relates to our attitude. One of the two books I have always prescribed to policy-makers which is a must-read is Small is Beautiful by EF Schumacker and the other one is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Small is Beautiful is premised on the idea that countries like The Gambia do not need mass production but need production by the masses. Think and Grow Rich was written by Napoleon Hill who was a great thinker. He was commissioned by the Carnegie and Ford families who said to him “our very existence will be threatened in this USA if we remain the only millionaires in the US”. He was given all the resources to study what behavioural tendencies and mindsets do people need to evolve from 0 to 1 and then having a multiplier effect.
“I also recall attending the University of Singapore and Lee Kuan Yew’s book From Third World to First World. Gambia and Singapore were independent the same year in 1965. Sir Dawda and Lee Kuan Yew got the flag of independence the same year. If you go into records, the per capita income of Singapore in 1965 was lower than that of The Gambia likewise Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria and Malaysia. Singapore had no resources not even water which they had to import from Malaysia. Lee Kuan Yew said ‘the only thing we have is our mindset and how do we utilisee it to our positive advantage?’ He said ‘we must inculcate an abundance mentality not a scarcity mentality’. A scarcity mentality is if I am successful I think I should be the only one successful. When Bill Gates started Microsoft within a period of 10 to 15 years he created over 3,000 millionaires and likewise Apple by Steve Jobs. If you go through the Forbes’ list of the richest people in the 1980s, the richest people were using resources given to them by the Almighty Allah like the king of Saudi Arabia and the sultan of Brunei. If you go into the list now the richest people are digging into their minds to come up with innovative projects like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. God gives us comparative advantages which whether we discover oil or not depends on the generosity of Almighty Allah but complete advantage is how we are able to use our mental faculties to develop products and services for the benefit of humanity.
See the first part of the full interview with Mr Touray on the opposite page.]]>