Allow me to share my opinion on the recent revelation made by the president that the anti-corruption commission will start operation soon. I came to terms with this development on your March 6, 2015 edition. The promise of high-level action against corruption is highly apt as it is commendable on the side of government. According to the president, significant progress has been made to ensure that the commission is fully functional. It is also expected that in 2015 all the 7 commissioners and the executive secretary will be appointed to commence operations. It must first be mentioned that corruption can take many forms that vary in degree from the minor use of influence to institutionalised bribery. Transparency International’s definition of corruption is: “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain”. This can mean not only financial gain but also non-financial advantages. To me, corruption is arguably the greatest impediment to the country’s progress. This is because it strips a nation of its resources. President Jammeh was right when he said during his state of the nation address that: “Corruption makes a country sickly and less attractive as an investment destination. It limits access to much needed services, stifles efficiency and eats away public resources. Therefore, we shall not waiver in the fight against corruption.” However, this practice is bound to flourish in a culture that encourages display of affluence without any regard as to how the wealth has been obtained. Also, lack of accountability plays a crucial role in the promotion of bribery and resistance to any form of reform. I am aware that this ugly practice exists in almost all countries but we should know that it is high time we moved beyond rhetoric and began to take action. For a winnable anti-corruption strategy, the public service must be purged, given new orientations and adequately motivated. The civil servants are currently susceptible to corrupt practices. To curb corruption in the public sector, the government must make provisions for servants to own their houses, cars and affordable schools for their children and wards.
Momodou Lamin Fadera,
Teaching business in school and our development
Let me share my view through your medium, The Standard that our country is ripe for development. This is so because our educational system is growing and the schools are producing the graduates who are expected to run our country. However, what is often heard is that the formal school system has failed to inculcate a culture of entrepreneurship which has now proven to be the life-blood of economic growth anywhere in the world. Many job entrants prefer the beaten path, opting for employment in blue-chip companies rather than the hard and often non-linear path of starting and operating their own businesses. We all know that unemployment remains inordinately high in The Gambia with most of the jobless being the youth. From many economic analysts’ standpoints, lack of an enterprise culture and entrepreneurship education across formal and informal education systems are among the leading causes of slow economic growth and unemployment in developing economies. Therefore, I believe that we can create more wealth even if at least 10 per cent of our job seekers chose the path of entrepreneurship, not because they have no other option, but because that is what they really want to do. We would slash joblessness and place our country on a fast path to economic growth and middle-level economic status. Entrepreneurship education forces children to stretch the limits of their faculties, develop a competitive spirit, innovate, and acquire confidence. Teaching entrepreneurship in school can create a world of opportunities for children to explore and help them develop a sense of independence. For so long, our education system’s focus has been on making the grade and moving to the next level. Due to advancements in technology, jobs that previously required many people can now be performed by machines or through outsourcing. This presents an incredible opportunity for our young people to take advantage of information and communication technology to create new businesses and redesign existing ones. Indeed, the market is hungry for a new breed of entrepreneurs. There is no shortage of financing, only ideas. Unless we create a generation of entrepreneurs, our resources will become raw materials for other people’s development as our educated young people struggle to find employment. It is disheartening to see thousands of young people, some with various certificates, surrendering to despair when their dreams of landing a job become elusive. There are institutions and organisations in the country that have grown more conscious of entrepreneurship and are a sure driver of our economic growth and are now pushing for a paradigm shift. But the route to achieving The Gambia’s development goals is based on teaching business in school.