Gambia forum divided over cause of Africa’s retardation

28 Jun
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Policy Dialogue Forum blames colonialism and Breton Woods Institutions for Africa’s economic backwardness. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Modou S. Joof

Panellists at a Tuesday Policy Dialogue Forum in the Gambia could not reach a common ground on the major cause of Africa’s underdevelopment.

At the 7th Policy Dialogue Series of The Association of the Non-Governmental Organisation  in The Gambia (TANGO), representatives of civil society, academia and the private sector  – blamed colonialism and Breton Woods Institutions  for Africa’s economic backwardness.

The TANGO-organised quarterly interactive forum focused on the 50th anniversary of the OAU/AU on the theme ‘Whither Africa, 50 years on …’

Physical map of Africa

Physical map of Africa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Colonialism has done an irreparable damage to the African continent to an extent that Africans should request for reparation from the colonialists,” says panellist Sarja Taal, a senior lecturer at the University of The Gambia (UTG).

 

However, Taal said “relevant education” is the only solution to addressing underdevelopment in Africa.

That education should be backed by a bold leadership.  Leaders who will have to think big and to think continental, he stressed.

Taal suggests one of the easiest ways to facilitate the movement of people and goods within Africa – to facilitate growth – are to build railways linking major commercial centres and cities across Africa.

Graphic: African continent

Graphic: African continent (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Panellist Almami Fanding Taal agreed with Saja Taal. The Chief Executive Officer of the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, GCCI, said Africa’s under development can quickly be traced to lack of knowledge.

“Seeking knowledge is the key to unlocking Africa’s development,” he said at the policy dialogue also intended to discuss “African solutions to African problems”.

He argued that if Africa’s growth is to be fast and meaningful, then the continent’s development should be private sector-led.

Speaking on behalf of his father, Saiba K. Suso, another senior lecturer at the UTG, Fille Suso blamed Breton wood institutions like IMF and World Bank for the endemic poverty and the insignificant economic development of African countries.

“The IMF and the WB come with policies and programmes that are written in well-refined languages that it looks to Africa leaders and the so-called technocrats that is an indispensable tool if Africa is to develop,” Fille argued.

He added that “most of the policies and the economic development model developed by these institutions work contrary to the economic realities in Africa” hence render no benefit to the continent.

If the Africa is to develop, the continent should adopt its own economic model, Fille noted.

  • FPI’s Lamin Jahateh contributed to this article from Fajara.
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