Another Where Are They Now?
By Gbe Sneh
“Where Are They Now?” We have wailed, from here to Jericho, about the ills of our government. This time let’s talk about the “Exodus Group”, those Liberians in the Diaspora that packed their bags, some sold their homes, set up their pensions to be drawn comfortably from a kick-back life in Liberia, in the wake of the Sirleaf Government taking the reins. Did it all sound too good to have been true? For once in my life, perhaps gullible by default to have put whatever little weight I had on a Sirleaf win, I felt Liberians of goodwill were now poised to make the dream come true for us all. They were positioned to make a difference, the beginning of a “middle class”. But, what happened?
DID any of them have in mind to invest in farming, the clarinet call of the rest of the world to us in these poor regions to go heavily agrarian? OMG! We can’t even feed ourselves well, yet! Most economies started on a farm! And those economies that anomaly grew from other sources, soon found themselves engulfed by farms. Plain and simple, the economy has to be fed, literally. OR, did they say that, “farming is for those who don’t know book”? Well, it is the easiest, perhaps the least capital exhaustive of the big potential ventures in a developing country like ours. Has anyone heard of pepper being imported from Monrovia to Grand Kru? Se! Tell me one cannot start with a few seedlings, en route to many $millions! The venture is sitting there for anyone, a free and pragmatic donation of a business lead, Bo! Go for it!
Look, there is a 2.4 billion strong market in combined China and India sitting out there! God knows those two have sold to us, from time immemorial – all the Jing-jang, nyama-nyama! Let’s send them a few containers of fruits, at least, every now and then!
DID any of them (Exodus Group) think of the simple difference between the “developed” and “underdeveloped” Worlds? That it is “power”, as in “electricity”? The developed world is able to present its “processed” and “packaged” products to the market. That’s the edge right there! If one is able to process and package what is grown from a small start-up farm in Fishtown, or Kwiloken, it can be sold. That of course, requires powered tools and equipment. Here comes SOLAR AFRICA! An Endless Independent Power Source! Have they heard about the INTERNET, the marketing strategy equalizer, the tool available to all, both small and giant businesses!? Alibaba is there to help promote and sell it for/to anyone! OR, did they say NO to a serious venture into SOLAR ENERGY that is one of the looming energy pillars, along with wind and hydro, in our Third World, where we are blessed with abundance of long sunlight days? OMG! What “do you waiting for?”
DID any of them think of opening resorts all along the 360 mile long coastline of Liberia, by converging on a “Do-Nothing Congress”, and a timid administration that has only flirted with the “CAPE TO CAPE COASTAL HIGHWAY” once suggested, and a HIGHWAY the then Chinese Ambassador, Song Tian, availed his country’s interest in taking on such a venture? Were there ever even talks by the parties? Think of an economic opportunity to gradually lure the congested populace away from Monrovia, into about eight different counties that this highway would run through, from Cape Mount to Cape Palmas. Se! An economic and perhaps a health “no brainer”! Think about a highway that will link all the PORTS – Cape Palmas, Greenville, Buchanan, and Monrovia. How about simply commuting from Harper City to Monrovia, it’s only 360 miles, after all? Let’s add in the solid infrastructure boost of a reliable movement of containers headed overseas with EXPORTS. OMG! Business would have arrived, bringing the powerful, yet “neglected” Southeast into FOCUS! Sorry, that’s only SOLIDARITY!
Are we going to open The Botanical Gardens to the world, while letting the bio groups to do their stuff, and we collecting small, small fees from tourists? USE WHAT YOU HAVE, MY PEOPLE!
OR, did they return! To join a small chorus of “I fini wi da Liberia.”? This is the group that would go through the scare tactics handbook to tell you how many things are going wrong, but will never tell you what they will do to help fix any of them. Just tell one of them that you have interest in farming in the homeland. Let me LOL first! They will tell you the doctrinal thing is not to get killed by “witch” in the village. “Your family will run you off with begging”, they would frighten. And now, just add EBOLA.
But then, who will do it? Governor Mills Jones has been preaching to “the wind”, about the importance of LIBERIANS opening up SMALL BUSINESSES to help rev up the sagging and sad economy. We sit down there, and we let all the LUCRATIVE BUSINESSES fall to internationals, then we cry, hen-hen!
The point here is this: Let’s “not put all our eggs, in one basket”. Let’s simultaneously attack the business front as well as the political. They are inseparable, don’t get me wrong. But, wise to make it a TWO-