Thursday, January 2, 2014

Gambians must adjust to the new normal

I know it pains to admit that our economy has been destroyed and our comparative advantage squandered and surrendered to Senegal in the process.

But in order to prescribe a well-articulated economic recovery program (yes, one will be needed after Jammeh is done with the mismanagement of the economy), we must be ready to, first, accept that the Gambian economy is in a coma and, second, a regional approach is needed to resuscitate it back to life which cannot take place without the cooperation of Senegal.

Both the TransGambia Bridge project, and a closer and formal 'political/economic' cooperation Agreement between the two countries are not only consistent with the new reality, they may be the only viable options left for The Gambia to pursue, realistically.  Even joining the CFA zone is no longer an option because France is no longer disposed  to writing-off the subsidy that will inevitably result from such membership under the wing of Senegal. France has it's own budget problems.

The sad fact is that it didn't have to be this way, but was made possible by almost 20 unfettered years of mismanagement by a group of soldiers who'd never managed a household budget much less an economy, albeit the smallest economy on the continent. This is the new normal, and we must bring ourselves to dealing with it rather than bury our collective heads in the sand.  Senegal holds the trump card despite its own economic problems.