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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Should Wade Have Another Go At The Presidency?

Driving east from Kolda is not much fun...

The Casamance is a sorry story of missed opportunity. Long ago, just after independence in the early 1960s there were experimental gardens and a lot of hope in this region. People were enthusiastic. A Chinese agricultural team near Sedhiou established a magnificent garden of fruit trees and vegetables; they also produced a great deal of rice in a local rice field using methods and tools available to the people of the area. The roads in the Casamance were not paved but they were in good shape and one could travel from Ziguinchor to Sedhiou to Kolda to Tambacounda at speeds around 100 km. an hour. Try that now! It isn't just the roads that have suffered in the Casamance. There is a paucity of development throughout the region. Five decades have been largely wasted in a region that might have become the breadbasket of Senegal.

Maybe it's the politics. If the region were truly developed, perhaps the southern part of Senegal - and some of its people - would gain in power at the expense of some in the north. Maybe that is not involved, I don't know. But it seems strange to me that a region with such potential has been so long and to such a degree neglected. It's a shame.

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