I want to use your medium to state that strategies being used in The Gambia and sub-Saharan Africa for social and economic development have fallen short of potency. Even as the these countries continue to adopt strategies and policies recommended by supranational organisations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organisation and the United Nations, they have not succeeded in narrowing the gap between them and the developed nations. What is even more interesting is that they instead continue to innovate and implement economic strategies of their own.
In The Gambia, for example, while the GDP and the economy are said to be growing, joblessness has increased significantly and the quality of other services has been on a steady decline. There is obviously a disconnect between The Gambia’s growth figures and the quality of life expressed in terms of infrastructure, health and educational masses, and inclusive development needs. There is the need therefore for the country to implement indigenously innovated patriotic development strategies that utilise international economics to its own desired benefit. The Gambia’s growth is expected to translate to development for the vast majority of her citizens. A patriotic implementation of indigenously innovated development strategies will thus lead to mass inclusive development, and see the country grow into the world economic power it has every potential of being.
Also, our development strategy should also implement a visible and direct connection between FDI extraction of the country’s resources and direct development of economic sectors such as fisheries, real estate or housing and agriculture. All FDI should have direct visible operations in the development of the various economic sectors in the country. This will not only invigorate sectors of the economy, but will also constantly create new jobs. The resilience, vitality and success of Gambians in the private sector should be used in the country’s overall development strategy to the benefit of all.
The acumen and vitality of the private Gambian businesspeople should be employed by the government in the running of even the day-to-day business of government departments, many of which should be self-funding and profit-oriented, effectively creating businesses from government agencies. These businesses are set up to operate transnationally for national profit and are also taxed with the direct development of different sectors of the economy. A strategy leading to a high GDP in a nation must be inclusive of the improvement of the lives of all citizens. Let us remember that even with the good intensions of the said supranational organisations, no one is going to hand The Gambia success. She must strategise in her own unique way and get success for herself.
Abdou Rahman Njie,
South Africa’s xenophobic attacks are simply wrong, un-African
I am writing to express my utmost sadness over the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa. Last week witnessed the looting and setting ablaze of shops owned by foreigners. There have been media reports of foreigners hiding in police stations and stadiums while machete-wielding attackers hacking immigrants to death in major cities. As attacks against foreigners and their businesses raged on, other nations in the continent have been scrambling to evacuate their citizens from South Africa. I must say that this is not the first time xenophobic violence has exploded in a country that tries to portray itself as a diverse “rainbow” nation. In fact South Africa is a nation that has seen waves of xenophobic attacks since the end of apartheid. However, last week’s attacks is said to have started after the Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini said at a recent gathering that foreigners “should pack their bags and go” because they were taking jobs from citizens. Shortly after his comments, violence against immigrants erupted in the port city of Durban. Even though his office denied he made the comments, it is a situation most unfortunate. In as many years, South African citizens have accused African immigrants of taking their already scarce jobs, undermining businesses owned by locals and contributing to a high crime rate. But even if such accusation is true, attacking and killing their fellow Africans have no justification. This is a country that has struggled with a brutal past and it is the collective effort of African countries that led to the end of apartheid. I know black South Africans have played the most critical part in upsetting apartheid but attacking African immigrants in that country at this age and time should be considered a new type of apartheid. South Africa should not allow itself to descend into such a state again. After all, we are all Africans.