By Mustapha Darboe
A 19-member national think tank, an apolitical and multi-disciplinary expert body selected to create policy direction for the government, was launched yesterday.
The think tank is tasked to help facilitate the development and reform agenda of the new Coalition government. The body comprising prominent experts in various fields will work from State House under the Office of the Vice President and will look at dozens of areas the new government wants to develop in line with its principles of good governance and democracy.
Speaking at the launching, Minister Fatoumatta Tambajang, overseer of the Office of the Vice President who represented President Barrow, said Gambians have voted for change and installed a government that must now solve its problems and rejuvenate a dying economy left by the APRC’s “repressive” regime.
“This expert body will help my government and the private sector to collectively address the brain-drain in the public, private and civil society sectors,” Tambajang said.
She said the members will advise government in policy areas and also validate the 3-year national development plan for Barrow’s transitional government.
“Gambian’s have decided for change; a change that must bring solutions and rejuvenate our dying economy and failed policies,” she said adding that the change must ensure the transformation of our political educational and social system to promote our values as one people with a history and identity through engaging our local communities for nation building.
“I am proud to say that the national think tank initiative is the first of its kind in The Gambia and it represents the political vision and commitments of the Coalition 2016 government to harness and maximise the integration of an invaluable ingredient in our new Gambia for sustainable development.”
According to her, President Barrow’s commitment is aimed at fulfilling his campaign promise to Gambians, which is to bring all Gambians on board and provide them with equal opportunities in rebuilding a new Gambia through a new development paradigm, “a process in which most Gambians were deprived from participating meaningfully over the past 22 years of the APRC repressive rule”.
Abdoulie Touray, a prominent economist and member of the body said the formation of the think tank is a departure from the past when such bodies are mostly set up by the private sector. He expressed his hope that with the new body, the persistent problem of implementation of ideas and proposals will be greatly improved.
The 19 members of the body are:
Dr Ahmad Tijan Jallow, a consultant, of Bijilo; Abdoulie Touray of Sahel Investment, Kanifing South; Abdou Njie, former governor of Central Bank; Dr Mariama Sarr of Kotu; Dr Kujay Manneh of Kanifing Estate; Dr Siga Jagne of Fajara; Sidia Jatta, National Assembly Member; Fafa M’Bai, lawyer; Mambury Njie; James Oreme Monday; Sidi Sanneh; Mamour Jagne; Dr Ayo Palmer; Dr Tumani Corrah; Mr Lamin Darboe of the National Youth Council; MS Jeng; Bai Mass Taal; Dr Ebrima Sall; and Mr Kemo Conteh.