The year 2013 is now history. It has receded into the background, leaving behind a legacy as a year beset with myriad political and economic challenges. From the onset, 2013 was accompanied by financial crises, economic downturn and mass protests against regimes particularly in Africa and the Arab world. The year ended also exposed humanity to a new awareness with regards to the protection of the inalienable rights of human beings, the necessity of social justice and the need for the greater inclusion of the common person in governance and building of national sovereignties. 2013 has receded with The Gambia basking in great prosperity. In spite of the financial and economic fiasco threading the world, statistics show that the Gambia economy is steadily registering a sustained growth. Officials review figures from the International Monetary Fund and the Central Bank of The Gambia attest to this fact. The productive base of our economy is also steadily increasing as investment is gradually on the rise. The health and education sectors continue to make headway. The Gambia is tipped to be among the few sub-Saharan African countries to meet the Millennium Development Goals of achieving universal primary health care for all. The education for all campaign is also a success story and the same stands true for the gender equality and mainstreaming campaign. And cultural revalorization is at an advanced stage. Politically, while the year ended imposed great challenge on governments, triggering electoral defeats and mass uprisings, 2013 offered The Gambia and Gambians a renewed hope and aspiration for a more better society pregnant with opportunities, thus enabling Gambians to become more fully politically aware to understand that with the country under the dynamic leadership of President Jammeh, the sky is the limit for our sustained progress, peace and prosperity. To sum it up, what Gambians have manifested in the year ended denotes that when a nation begins to think and reflect toward the same direction there is always more hope of development and growth. We can recall in history that the Renaissance led to the scientific inquiry of the age (which brought about the various inventions and innovations we are enjoying today). Since then it has become a slogan of "backward never and forward ever" in terms of human innovations and change. Conversely, since 1994, The Gambia began to think and not only thinking, but thinking critically and in a foresighted manner. With its present disposition of radical and constructive thinking, no cynics can truncate it or stand on its way. The forces of liberalism and modernism have taken over from the forces of conservatism and so, it is development galore all the way! Known revolutions in history have brought about total restructuring and transformation of existing political, economic and social milieu. It is unlike the whirlwind, it blows every one good! One thing ironical about cynics is that they also enjoy the fruits of the system which they oppose. Have you been touched by the wind of change? Of course we know that in one way or the other you have immensely benefited. Let us ask, how do you feel when cruising along the tarred roads, (which were formerly earth- surfaced)? Don't you enjoy piped water? Not to talk of regular power supply. Indeed President Jammeh has proved that development is not a foreign language. 2014 is just beginning and only time can tell what it would bring for us; however, it is significant that every Gambian draws lessons from the year ended so that individually, our sense of purpose and direction can be reviewed, understand our challenges and make adjustments where necessary. The Gambia of course, it can substantively be argued is on the right path to gaining the economic benefits of infrastructural development. This is because the leadership understands that our resolve to turn the country into a Silicon Valley cannot be achieved without the appropriate infrastructure in place. With the ideal infrastructure in place, the morale of the citizens becomes high and as a result, they are motivated to tap the investment opportunities at their disposal. We will definitely see a different Gambia when most if not all of the infrastructural projects underway have materialized. We will be more conscious of the value of our Gambian identity and be always proud to welcome guests into our midst. The fundamental lesson that we have to draw from our development process is clear. The country has in stock the necessary infrastructure upon which the foundation of our advancement can be built. The president has been calling on the citizenry to change attitude and take ownership of the available resources and build on those resources. It is therefore important for every sober-minded Gambian to take a moment of reflection and ask him or herself, now that there is adequate water and electricity, there are good roads, the economy is growing at a stable rate, investment avenues are open, what should I do as a Gambian? Changing our attitudes to venture into trades that would enable us live comfortably will certainly make 2014 and all other years to come progressive for us all. The Gambia belongs to all of us. It is in the best interest of sustainable national development to complement the efforts of the government in nation building. We finally wish everyone a progressive and prosperous 2014.
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