Barrow vows economic independence as Gambia clocks 57

Feb 21, 2022, 11:49 AM | Article By: Pa Modou Cham 

As the Gambia celebrates 57 years of independence from British rule, President Adama Barrow’s speech at the McCarthy Square focused on  economic independence, while stating that to be economically independent, The Gambia must invest more freely in the productive sectors, produce as much of what we consume and eat more home-made products.

The president in addressing the nation on Friday, added that the country needs to expand and patronise local businesses while developing, encouraging and tapping local talents. 

“The dilemma of African countries largely remains the attainment of economic independence in an inter-dependent world. Like many other nations around the world, this is one of The Gambia’s major challenges. Although it is my view that absolute economic independence is impractical, it is certain that we can reduce our heavy dependence on the outside world.” 

Barrow continued that the solution depends hugely on how practical “we are” and “how far we choose to go in raising our productivity and production capabilities and outputs, while minimising imports and maximising exports.”

He said that the imbalance between imports and exports for the country is enormous, saying this needs to be offset. He added that there is a great need to transform the population into a more productive resource.

“A lot of potential to increase national income generation lies in organising our communities to set up joint businesses, engage in more productive ventures, and make the most of our natural resources. Old and ineffective approaches have to give way to greater application of technology and modern techniques of production.”

The president highlighted that industrialisation is surely one of the key areas to promote and develop, adding that we should work towards ably mechanising and diversifying agriculture, preserving and processing our produce, and changing our life styles to depend less on imported goods, especially imported food commodities.

“In discussing economic independence, my vision for The Gambia is a nation with top-class infrastructure, sufficient energy for national coverage and a technology-supported society that matches the digital world, all of which propel growth, economic development and social cohesion through an adequately equipped human resource base.”

To advance economically, the President said there is an urgent need to inject value and derive value from whatever we do. He further buttressed that we should insist on designing value-driven projects and programmes that add value to the lives and livelihoods of the people, and ensure that our interventions yield tangible results that are not short lived.

The next five years, he said, provide opportunities to pursue such noble goals with more passion and vigour. He posited that we have the chance as a country to be proactive and be better organised to utilise our resources more efficiently and usefully.

“I challenge the relevant Ministries and institutions to transform such ideals into workable strategies and infuse them into our next development plan and national policies.”

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