Shambolic in(dependence)

Wars, proxy wars and rumors of war; tensions and adversarial conflicts are on the rise. How long before the giants clash? What then for the third world, especially resource strapped countries like The Gambia?

In the international game of geopolitics, we don’t count. We do not really matter when it comes down to the bottom line, which is understandable because everyone is for their own interest first. Whatever compromises people or nations make are done with assurances that their interests will not be negatively impacted. When that is threatened, the compromise is sacrificed.

Our hopes hinge on community, the global community that came together and ratified the international declaration of human rights and made it a requirement of membership that member states of various international bodies subscribe to and uphold that declaration. Because of the consequences placed on violations of such agreements, states have largely treaded with caution with regards to policy and administration.

Which raises the question, what if the current world order fails? What if that global community breaks up, how will we fare?

We are at the mercy of others in every sense of the word. We talk about security, but no country is really secure where the people’s source of food is uncertain. We import everything we consume; including our most basic staple, all it takes is for unfavorable market conditions or fuel costs to engineer a food crisis. Can you imagine a country bragging about how much money it has as import cover? When people are hungry, they take no precautions when it comes to finding food, and in that situation no army or secure facility can keep them away from a potential food source. Our land and water resources lay redundant when we could be food self-sufficient, rain or not.

Tourism is our biggest industry, an industry that’s reliant on discretionary spending income of Europeans. Unemployment, underemployment, interest rate hikes, housing crisis, market volatility etc. all determine if those Europeans we rely on to pour their extra income into our economy will come. Thomas Cook just went bust and we are already feeling anxious about the upcoming tourist season, which clearly will be affected considering the number of limited airlines serving the Gambian market as a destination.

Tourist arrivals have been on the decline and they continue to be, Cape Verde has taken over as a more attractive tourist destination, offering the same package of sun, sea and sand, only better. So competition factors into how well our economy does and by default how well our citizens do economically.

As we speak, people around the world are protesting and taking action against climate change. Historically, poorer countries bear the greatest brunt of natural disasters or unfavorable climate patterns. Here we are with no infrastructure to contain or manage floods. If there is severe drought, we have no infrastructure for ensuring our billions of cubic tons of water are used to irrigate crops along the fertile river banks. We will cry to the world for help to feed our people.

If not for the global community, maniacs like Yaya Jammeh would’ve slaughtered hundreds of thousands because we have no institutions to keep him in check. Look at South Africa recently, if not for their desire to maintain a good look on the international stage what consequence will there be for the barbarians who go out killing fellow Africans?

We can keep going on how lacking we are in essential services and resources and the list will be long and in exhaustive. That is our sad reality.

Africa cannot stand for her own citizens or descendant; no wonder we get trampled on all around the world to no effect. We are belittled even in our countries by foreigners who show up for economic exploitation because they bribed their way to the top and are shielded by crooks in public office to do as they please as long as they dip their hands in their pockets and empty it into the bellies of the insatiable and gluttonous “public” officials.

If the current geopolitical maneuvers come to a head, we are screwed. We will be at each other’s throats attempting to survive in the face of insurmountable impossibilities created and sustained by none but ourselves for letting our governments get away with crimes and total disregard for our concerns.

It is largely a matter of choice for us; I mean how many of our folks have enough non-perishable food items stored at home in case of emergencies? The greatest majority of rural folks do, in fact the tradition of buying and domesticating animals is one such way they prepare themselves as well as having food stores where they keep grains. Tomorrow is some distant future we expect not to grace, so who cares. This is reflected in our governance structures, all that matters is the here and now, tomorrow is someone else’s responsibility. Only problem with that is the fact that when tomorrow comes, those who are supposed to take action for that tomorrow will also defer their charge; on and on into perpetuity.

Our greatest investment as a country needs to be in agriculture, then education, health, infrastructure (including institutions) and only then can we start to effectively prepare ourselves for a better future. But sadly our governments care only about themselves and their inner circle.


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