Friday, June 28, 2013

Education is the key to unlock Africa’s underdevelopment

Gambia forum divided over cause of Africa’s retardation

Physical map of Africa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Relevant education is the solution to addressing underdevelopment in Africa, Sarja Taal, a senior lecturer at the University of The Gambia (UTG) said on Tuesday.
Such education should be backed by a bold leadership, leaders who will have to think big and to think continental, Taal said at the 7th TANGO Policy Dialogue Series attended by civil society organisations, academia and the private sector.  

The quarterly interactive forum of the Association of Non-Governmental Organisations in The Gambia (TANGO) focused on the 50th anniversary of the OAU (now AU) on the theme ‘Whither Africa, 50 years on …’

The June 25 policy dialogue was intended to discuss “African solutions to African problems”. 

Mr Taal noted that one of the easiest ways to facilitate the movement of people and goods within Africa is to build railways linking major commercial centres and cities across Africa.

However, the Forum could not reach a common ground on the major cause of Africa’s underdevelopment. Some blamed colonialism and while others point accusing fingers to Breton Woods Institutions like IMF and World Bank for Africa’s economic retardation. 

“Colonialism has done an irreparable damage to the African continent to the extent that Africans should request for reparation from the colonialists,” argues Sarja Taal.

Almami Fanding Taal, 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. “If Africa’s growth is to be fast and meaningful, then the continent’s development should be private sector-led,” he added.

UTG graduate Fille Suso, blamed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) for the “endemic poverty” and the “insignificant economic development” in Africa.  

“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.

Speaking on behalf of his father, Saiba K. Suso, another senior lecturer at the UTG, Fille noted that “most of the policies and the economic development model developed by these institutions work contrary to the economic realities in Africa”.

These policies render no benefit to the continent. If the Africa is to develop, the continent should adopt its own economic model, he suggests.  


Written by Modou S. Joof
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