Modernize The Gambia with Just 500 Dollars
I yearned for the day The Gambia will be off the clutches of the tyranny that marked a good part of my adult life. I would have voted for a dog if it had contested against Jammeh’s dictatorship. It happened that the oppositions found a common enemy in him and his defeat was inevitable. The role played by the diaspora was invaluable. Today, those vociferous and relentless onetime-oppositions are the rulers. I could only hope for a smooth transition.
Diaspora has a part to play
The diaspora is bugged by the seemingly trivial but essential question, ‘what is our participatory role in the meaningful development despite the distance from home?’. We can send remittance, buy and post one or two electronics devices, secure an empty plot of land or build a house. These are the sort of things consuming a good part of the remittance the diaspora is sending back. These avenues are essentially economic blackholes. Attending to these issues only address the temporal urgencies. How about the extended electricity blackouts, the insufficient running waters, the piles of wastes in the streets, the enduring conditions along the Banjul-Barra ferry crossing, the fact that the hospitals are in unbearable conditions and no marketing platform for farm produces? Government is expected to provide the essential amenities. I will rather Government institute policies, cut down the bureaucratic procedures and the unnecessary regulations. Our experience being outside the bounds of Africa, make its obvious to us that, the development of any country has to be a collaborative effort between public and private stakeholders.
Privatization of public entities like NAWEC or Gambia Ports Authorities is not the answer to our looming and out-of-hand public debt. In fact, I will personally advice against such a policy and instead advocate for comprehensive public-private investment ventures and policies. A collaboration between these stakeholders reduces investments risks, provide safe nets and reduce regulatory loopholes taken advantage of by people with their own personal agendas
Government-Diaspora Investment Bank
The role of the diaspora should be prime on the agendas of the Government to promote a transformative political and economic landscape of The Gambia.
As part of the frame work of policy development and implementation, the current government under the headship of the minister of finance and economic affairs should initiate and sponsor a bill to be debated in the national assembly. A bill seeking the establishment of a constitutionally mandated public-private investment bank as a subsidiary of the Central Bank. The established aim of this investment bank is to ensure fund raising particularly from private Gambian in the diaspora to finance major projects. Such a venture, which is constitutionally mandated, will guarantee security and assurance to the average private citizen to invest their little handouts. These in-flows of hard currencies will secure funding for the urgently needed financing of the procurement of the badly needed high power Generators for a continues electricity production. Investments in the Agricultural sector are possibility. Procurement of new Ferries and the revamping of the entire public transport system are some of the areas an instant change can be affected.
Our remittances are more than the Aid we receive.
Enough with the endless begging and quest for handouts from global donors. A government that awaits foreign aids will always be dictated and run by the powers outside its control. It has been documented that Africans in the diaspora send back home as remittance more than what is pledge as aids from global donors. It is time we channel these regular flows of cash and establish investment banks to finance development projects.
Mr. President this should be the central part of the blue print of your government’s development agenda. If your legacy is anything to be mindful of, your derive to change the political and economic wellbeing of the country is not possible without facilitating such policies. Wane your government off Aids and pledges from Foreign governments. Let Gambians be in the forefront of these changes.
Minimum of 500 Dollars.
In order to access portfolios in such an investment Bank, Gambians in the diaspora are urged to deposit at least 500 Dollars or an economically agreeable minimum limit value. Under a stringent regulation based on the constitutionality of the investment bank, Gambians in the diaspora will find courage to support such venture. After all the risk of securing a portfolio with 500 Dollars in dwarfed by the reward the country could benefit from. Imagine the number of Gambians outside and imagine how much can be raised from them to finance projects through such and Investment Bank. The simple assumption that an individual cannot under the circumstances effect any change is a baseless one. Provide the policy framework, we will invest in droves!
By The Engineer