Sunday, February 5

Letters: Ernest Aubee: Candidate For AU Commissioner For Agriculture

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Dear editor,

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It is with immense pleasure, one that emanated from the bottom-line of my heart, to learn of the candidature of Mr. Ernest Aubee for the African Union (AU) Position of Commissioner of Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment.

Ernest Aubee, a very special Gambian, is an Agricultural policy specialist, seed technologist and a development expert whose professional life epitomizes the highest levels of public and private service and achievement. Ernest is recognized as one of the country’s leading experts in international development and the environment. Furthermore, Ernest is one unique Gambian professional who established regular professional contact with the greatest number of Gambian professionals, in and out of the country. Some of these contacts have been professionally challenged as consultants and short-term experts.

Africa, in the context of the African Union and NEPAD, needs a new era, if we are to end the continent’s oldest enemies: poverty and hunger. We have reached a point where this long-standing goal must be attained. I am confident that a successful Ernest Aubee, based on his unique experience, accomplishments and successes of the past decades (Government of The Gambia – employee; Catholic Relief Services – expert; ActionAid International The Gambia – expert; United Nations Development Programme – expert; African Technology Policy Studies network – network coordinator for The Gambia) and the Economic Commission of West African States – agriculture programme expert) will be instrumental in the creation and strengthening of this new era of opportunity.

It is our priority challenge to start acting together, through a common platform, to groom competent citizens for higher heights, at the local and international levels. This collective action and/or responsibility, with leadership support from the Government through the office of the Secretary General, is needed now as much as Ernest’s own, to make sure his candidacy is successful. We must pursue this collective action to end the continent’s ongoing tragedy, poverty and hunger, so that the many millions of the poorest people will have the opportunity to meet their basic needs.

In addition to Ernest’s indelible achievements at home, public and non-governmental levels, he has received numerous citations and international awards in the service of humanity.

I hold that Ernest Aubee’s participation is indispensable to that new Era which is being prepared now.

The African Union needs ERNEST AUBEE as Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment based on his experience and understanding of the workings of policy and policy making as appropriate tools to better engage decision makers. Such knowledge and skills are particularly important now in the context of a liberalized trading regime where Africa’s agricultural and rural sectors are part of the global economy.

Understanding the macroeconomics (i.e., trade, tariff and monetary) of agriculture is indispensable in attempting to balance the interests of our African producers and importers, to gauge how monetary policy impacts the attractiveness of our agricultural exports, and to determine how we position our agriculture sector in the global trading regime. These are some of the tools that Ernest Aubee knows well and will expertly weave to ensure the success of the new era.

For this reason, and having served as a Director of Agriculture of a Sub-Regional institution, I am personally supporting the candidacy of Mr. Ernest Aubee and calling on the Government of The Gambia through the Presidency, The Cabinet and the Office of the Secretary General to campaign strategically for Ernest to become the next African Union Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment. As a trained agriculturalist who obtained his Bachelor’s Degree from the highly reputable Njala University College, University of Sierra Leone in Sierra Leone and his post graduate training in policy and economics at the Hague in Netherlands, this is a challenge that adequately fits his credentials. Ernest has a better grasp on how the correct policy for agriculture can provide the conducive environment for the sector’s sustainable growth. Under his leadership, he will make sure the AU becomes once more relevant to the greater smallholder rural agricultural communities where it rightly belongs, not only in terms of being committed and productive but also sharing their knowledge, skills, and technologies in improving the agriculture and the rural sectors to ensure sustainable development.

But in the final analysis, it will be a decision of the Presidency, the Cabinet and the Office of the Secretary General on the type campaign strategy to adopt to make sure that the candidacy of Ernest Aubee of the Republic of The Gambian becomes more relevant to the position of Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment of the African Union.

This letter, soliciting the undivided attention of the Government and people of The Gambia, through the Office of the President, presents the now which bears the seed of that New Era.

Suruwa B. Wawa Jaiteh

(Irrigation agronomist/rice specialist)

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