Friday, July 10, 2015

It's called sustainability, stupid - UPDATED

Jammeh addressing Agriculture Ministry personnel 
The Gambian dictator convened a meeting of senior staff of the Agriculture Ministry to express his wonderment at why projects slow to a halt once external funding dries up.

This is was is called sustainability, stupid. When projects are designed, it is as much the responsibility of the recipient as it is the donor's to ensure that the project is sustainable after external resources stop flowing.  Blame the problem on poor project design and not on the attitude or competence of those responsible for implementing the project.

The Finance Minister should take a chunk of the blame because he is the leader of the delegation that negotiated and signed all these loans on behalf of the government.  During loan negotiations, these deficiencies in project design should be highlighted and mitigating measures proposed to allow for mid-stream adjustment to the project.

Donors as well as local officials who participated in  the project formulation process should all share in the responsibility of designing a project that is unsustainable because local resources are either not available or diverted, as it typical of this regime, to other sectors of the economy, like the security forces.  It was only yesterday that 20 new vehicles were "donated" by the Benevolent Leader to the Gambia Armed Forces instead of directing the financial resources to the agriculture or social sectors. All of this to guarantee his stay in power beyond his 22-year stint.
Jammeh also used the occasion to blame an already embattled staff who have seen their ranks decimated by accusations, arrests and criminal charges leveled against senior administrative and project staff blamed with the malaise that bedevils the single most important sector of the country's economy.

Morale is at its lowest ebb eve reflective of a sector that is rudderless and this lack direction because of the constant interference and persecution of staff for purely political reasons.  Imagine staff being charged with economic crime for recommending a staff member to a donor - in this case the African Development Bank -  in an acting capacity as Project Manager until a substantive PM is appointed. This is how upsurged the entire witch hunting exercise of this regime has become.

Jammeh conveniently ignores the fact that he has been Agriculture Minister for most of the 22 years he's been in power thus overseeing the decline of a sector that employs 70% of Gambians and or approximately responsible for approximately  20% of GDP.  By assuming the post for the umpteenth time, Jammeh will be guaranteeing a more rapid decline of am already struggling sector.