Dr. Kaifala Marah an adviser on Public Expenditure Management at the Commonwealth Secretariat has stated that “from nothing we can become something and from nowhere we can go somewhere.”
Dr Marah was giving a public lecture yesterday to students of the Fourah Bay College (FBC) on the theme ‘transformation through the power of ideas’. He defined ideas as a resource applied to bring about change and it is also a holistic strategy employed by individuals, institutions and wider communities to bring about transformation or to achieve a sense of renewal and success, but that the ideas can only be powerful if applied in a disciplined environment.
Dr Marah explained that in some countries like Singapore even though there is absence of natural resources and the country does not produce oil but refine and handles the transshipment of oil yet they have invested in developing their human resources to allow development through innovation.
He asked what about Sierra Leone? “We are lucky to have had the first institution of higher learning in West Africa, but has the situation improved? We had the first Civil Service College in West Africa; today it is dead and gone.”
The Commonwealth adviser further stated that both the Civil Service College in Ghana and Singapore are still being used for educational purposes. He added that the Civil Service in Singapore has been transformed into a world-class centre of excellence that provides services to such institutions as the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Word Bank and the IMF.
In comparing education, in Singapore and Sierra Leone the adviser said “Singapore now exports education while Sierra Leone is busy accessing education through such institutions as Legon University in Accra, Ghana.”
Speaking about poverty in Sierra Leone, Dr Marah said “the poverty we are experiencing today as a nation is not a curse but an outcome of the collective thinking capacity of past generations passed down to us. Poverty in the first degree lives in our minds as a legacy and as our heritage.”
He urged Sierra Leoneans in general that this generation should approach national development differently and draw a line between yesterday and today.
Concluding he said “I wish to propound that while we may have inherited the past, the present is the only opportunity we may have, the only chance we may have to change the future, we must do without being afraid to introduce new thinking, and taking on the armour of challenge and the resilience to deliver for the good of society.”
By Betty Milton