Oct 6, 2014, 10:21 AM
country that is endowed with mineral resources can attract business and
investment opportunities from overseas. Such a country can also be inclined
towards contracting overseas loans for socioeconomic development because the
absorptive capacity of the economy can handle the repayments of such loans.
Countries in this category would include Ghana, Congo, Nigeria, Botswana, South
Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Algeria, Sierra Leone, etc. among others.
A small country like The Gambia with no known mineral base is not a bankable country. It is therefore limited in terms of access to international credit and business opportunities. The possibilities exist in the productive sectors of the economy, namely: Agriculture, Fisheries, Tourism, etc. to excite economic development and growth. This would depend on the orientation of the economy towards production and export basis. The late President Jawara at Independence in 1965 had warned Gambians that “Independence is not a magical formula that will transform your groundnuts into diamonds. It means we are on our own and by our own efforts we must earn our keep.”
Here we are in the Third Republic and The Gambia is in dire need of economic assistance and social uplift. It is about time that we look at our domestic economic management and our foreign policy with a view to reflect on strategies and national capacity in nation building. The country is missing out a lot on achieving grand dividends from domestic resources and from the international community. We have heard what other country received from the visit of the Turkish President. Public information is required on what The Gambia expects from the cooperation agreement concluded with Turkey. It is to be noted that bilateral cooperation goes with benefits which should have been made known to the public in the said visit.
There is no public information to my knowledge as to what The Gambia achieved in the Russia/Africa summit and Japan/Africa summit. Unfortunately, The Gambia was absent in the recently concluded British/Africa Investment Summit for unexplained reasons. It is interesting to observe that even francophone countries were invited to attend the British summit. It is to be stated that The Gambia is not utilizing her experts’ bank to engage in national preparedness and in strategic economic diplomacy to achieve the desired results in resource mobilization for nation building. This is a poor reflection on the system of government. It could be concluded that The Gambia lacks foresight in economic diplomacy.
This is an era of economic diplomacy. When our relations with the outside world are fundamentally friendly, it is the time to move fast, use our skills, knowledge, capacity and the flexing of our diplomatic muscles to win big gains in the international arena for The Gambia. Of course, this will require the elimination of selfishness, small-mindedness and bureaucratic procrastinations in the system. The resolution to many of the challenges faced by the country is the opening of the doors to those who can make a difference in achieving concrete results for the country. Diplomacy today operates in a world in which countries are interested mainly in the pursuit of economic benefits. Economic diplomacy takes priority over political diplomacy. Hence the need to intensify efforts to achieve economic returns for national development, The Gambia must get this right.
By: D.M. Badjie