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  • Assan Jaiteh

Celebrating our own:The Grand opening of the Senegambia bridge


Celebrating our own. The Grand opening of the Senegambia bridge.The opening of Senegambia bridge is indeed a proud moment for me as an African Student in western university studying International relation and Peace. This bridge is an African project sponsored financially by an African institution.

Two important things to be proud of about this bridge is that,1 its finance by African Development Bank (AfDB) and 2 the bridge is constructed by a Senegalese company again an African company. So, this bridge has Africa fingerprint written all over it. For once I did not hear China, World Bank, International Monetary Fund or even the European Union’s name mentions in a project of this magnitude in Gambia.

I sat in lectures most of the time talking about Africa and thinking what the hell is wrong with Africa and her leaders. A continent full of all sorts of natural resources that help to developed and continue to sustain development of other part of the world, while Africa remained in poverty. Some of the socking examples associated with Africa are War, Corruption, poverty Disease and any negative thing one could imagine.

Nothing good could be said about Africa that will make you believe that one day Africa will be the continent like paradise that we all be proud of. It is no secret that our continent has gone through a lot of terrible times in its history (Slave Trade, Colonialism and now Neo-colonialism) that would affect the development progress of any country or continent.

However, we have had the chance of improving our circumstance after many years of self-rule, but we choose to do otherwise. We care more about ourselves and our families that we care about the development of our dear continent.

Africans are consumed with the western civilisation to a point that, we cannot do or think for ourselves anymore. If we want to do well, we first must decolonise our minds. Decolonisation is an ideological battled that must be won first before we think of anything.

Colonialism is no longer a possible tool to be use by the developed countries anymore due to the restrictions by the world order which is shaped by international norms and institutions and guarded by statehood and sovereignty. However, the colonial masters always find a way to control less developed countries through other means such as neo-colonialism. Neo-colonialism is the control of less-developed countries by the developed countries through indirect means.

"The essence of neo-colonialism is that the state which is subjected to it is in theory independent and has all the outward trappings of international sovereignty. However, in reality, its economic system and political policies are directed from outside (Nkrumah, 1959).

African need to start believing themselves and stop promoting other cultures that help to build their economics to our detriments. Anytime we speak their languages, take their money in terms of Aid or loans, we are doing nothing but to promote their cultures and improves their economy.

The dominance of foreign cultures, especially the western cultures which imposed their “culture by force”, on us have seen Africa sacrifice its cultural heritage for other cultures. This came after many years of political independence from our colonial masters, yet, we still follow the western model of economic development.

This gives an advantage to the western countries at the expenses of African countries in terms of incentive for economic growth. The pattern of consumption in Africa couple with the life style choices have evolved overtime. Goods manufactured in Africa are no more consumed by African than those manufactured in the West. Western brands like Coca-Cola, Fanta etc. are more valued than own African tropical juice like Mango juice, Baobab juice etc. We have been mentally colonised by the West into thinking that their goods and services are the best. Hollywood movies are preferred to Nollywood movies even though they all serve the same purpose in entertaining people.

Africa is faced with a mountain of difficulties in maintaining their cultural identities as their cultural heritage has so far been undermine by the western culture. The mentality in Africa towards the West is mind-blowing.

The believe that Western values are superior to non-western values is nonsense. It is indisputable that the western creativity, disciplined political leadership and strong democratic institutions have contributed a lot to their development and these can be attributed to values, however, this those not make the western values any superior to the non-western value. What matters is for Africans to put their acts together and use their strong cultural heritage and values to trigger off development to meet their immediate and future needs.

It is well documented that the riches (natural and human resources) of Africa have contributed to the development of the West and continues to sustain their development. It is my believed that Africans can do the same as the West to develop Africa. This is what our fore fathers fought for. Let’s do it our own way, not long-ago Africa and China are in the same economic grouping. How did China able to do well in this short time up to the point of helping Africa.

Assan Jaiteh, student of International Relations and Peace Studies


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