The Seedy Keita-Africa50 MoU on ‘Recycling’ Senegambia Bridge – A Left Perspective Copy

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SeneGambia Bridge

TAT Commentary by Alf Soninke

At the recent press conference, Gambia’s Finance Minister, Seedy KM Keita, sounded like a true salesperson for international finance capital following the loud controversy over his signing of a “recycling” agreement with AfDB’s subsidiary Africa50.

However, it should come as no surprise that Keita would rationalize the issue in the way he did in the spirited public defense of appending his signature to the document, despite the disquiet and strong expressions of misgivings galore by Gambians online and through other media.

In passing, we encourage our readers to go online and digest the many commendable, informative, and enlightening posts by individuals and media outlets for a balanced and comprehensive understanding of this issue.

Now, about Seedy KM Keita, the man is a well-groomed member of the comprador bourgeoisie – Marxist define this group as that section of the national bourgeoisie employed at the home front to work and have connections to promote the interests of transnational/multinational corporations and financial institutions, including foreign finance capital.

Therefore, Keita would be expected to talk like that – you may want to search for the video on YouTube and hear Keita explain why he signed the MoU.

To be fair to Minister Keita, we must mention that we heard the Infrastructure minister Ebrima Sillah say, at the same press conference, that consultations on the “recycling” idea started about a year ago.

Sillah also said that a joint delegation of the two ministries visited the Senegambia Bridge and the new bridges in URR.

He said at that time, revenue from the Senegambia Bridge amounted to around D15 million (under GPA management?)

However, Sillah went on, when the government Treasury department took over, revenue collection at the bridge jumped massively to around D35 million!

This revelation has left this writer wondering whether the government pursued the matter and investigated why there was a huge difference in receipts and what happened to the around D20 million unaccounted for.

Still on Minister Sillah’s statements at the press conference, he said they visited the bridges as part of an assessment/inspection tour of their operations – suggesting that there was thinking about how to raise revenue from the Basse and Fatoto Bridges ( built with a grant from China) – and this explains the toll system reportedly now in operation at the new URR bridges.

Continuing, to better appreciate how and why the Gambian Finance minister appears to be an enabler of international finance capital in this matter, one must examine Keira’s profile – also available on the Internet.

According to our source, citing a World Bank post on the Internet about Seedy Keita, before joining Barrow’s Cabinet in Gambia, first as Trade and then as Finance minister in May 2022, Seedy KM Keita was “a Director of the Finance Department at the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD); the private sector entity of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in Jeddah from 2011 to 2020.  

“He also served as the Deputy Director in the Treasury of IFAD, where he managed liquidity and oversaw operations and funding between 2010 and 2011.”

Usually, when they leave their well-paying jobs abroad to take up such ministerial appointments by their home governments, you hear them say they did so to respond to a call for national duty – that they want to serve their country.

However, such government posts also provide opportunities to serve their external masters, who would have patiently prepared them for such positions.

Keita “is a Chartered Certified Accountant (FCCA) and a Chartered Management Accountant (ACMA) and holds a double Master’s Degree in Business Administration and Financial Management from Edinburgh Business School, Herriot-Watt University.  

“He graduated with Distinction–a Post Graduate Diploma (Masters level) in Financial Strategy from SaÏd Business School, University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. He is a qualified Treasurer (AMCT) and a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA).

“Seedy attended Executive Education at Harvard (Corporate Financial Engineering, Judge Business School  University of Cambridge (General Management), and London Business School.”

The reader also needs to know that international financial institutions such as “the African Development Bank (AfDB, founded in 1963), are part of the post-colonial “global, regional development bank architecture” designed to ensure continuing capitalist exploitation by the U.S. dollar hegemon and its vassals in the West as part of their grand project for perpetual world domination.

The AfDB, like the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), which Keita worked for, is part of that network of multilateral development banks the West conceived as a tool for the economic subjugation of the neo-colonies in sub-Saharan Africa, among other regions of the globe.

In this context, we must always remember too, especially so, the requirement that Finance ministers in developing Africa nowadays must be carefully selected by governments for their pick to receive approval from the IMF/WB for the person given the strategic position.

The Finance minister’s explanation of what the agreement entailed and why he signed it is a reminder of the mindset of big capitalists and their collaborators in government and apologists in academia of ways of making money by targeting the resources, including “national assets” of underdeveloped, developing countries and emerging economies all over the world; and even tiny Gambia even though classified as an LDC is not to be spared.

There is the airport Securiport arrangement, Semlex for our ID cards and passports, and ongoing pressures to privatize NAWEC and Gamtel – do you remember the abortive attempt by an “investor” to benefit from our international telecoms gateway receipts financially? Also, the various proposals for the seaport in the Gambia, a bridge across the Banjul- Barr’s river crossing, and so on.

All these are schemes to make easy money in poor Gambia, which is made possible, unfortunately, when you have the kind of persons we have in office serving – since independence – as policymakers and policy advisers.

Then states like Gambia become prey in the global web of predatory vulture capitalists prowling daily in our highly vulnerable nations for easy pickings to sustain themselves and the more extensive capitalist system they are a part of.

Indeed, capitalists and their lobbyists are always knocking at doors in the corridors of power for access to our national resources and assets.

The fact is, In the name of promoting national development, our governments, in “creating the enabling environment,” do facilitate the exploitation of workers, farmers, and the entire population for the benefit of individuals and entities, which cannot be right!

Again, under the policy of “the private sector as the engine of economic growth”, our governments are always making it possible for a capitalist “entrepreneur” and their partners to become a millionaire. At the same time, the majority, 99.9 percent of our people, remain destitute.

One could recall reading somewhere, in the recent past, that it is in these very infrastructure projects where you have the millions and billions being invested, and thus provide opportunities for politicians and their collaborators to become filthy rich over time, if not overnight!

So beware, as the declared focus on infrastructure and all the emphasis on “infrastructure” projects for “national development” is primarily self-serving.

This is so since “infrastructure development” is where you have the millions and billions now being invested, thus enhancing possibilities to make quick and easy money, with a better chance to get away with monumental corruption.

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