Toward a Mali firmly entrenched in the 21st century

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Letter to the President of the Republic of Mali

Mr. President,

My name is Alima. I am 15 years old and I am from the Sikasso region. On this beautiful afternoon in November 2018, we are celebrating the arrival of 3G Internet services in my village of Pimperna. This event is an opportunity for me to use this newly created blog to share my thoughts with you.

I am aware of, and have nothing but respect and admiration for, the tremendous work that you are doing for our country. I would like to share my vision of a future Mali with you. It may perhaps be too colored by the dreams of an adolescent, but I am confident, Mr. President, that you will forgive me for that.

Mr. President, we are living in exciting times, in the age of the digital revolution, where technologies are expanding the realm of the possible and provide the solution to the current challenges facing education and youth employment.  Robotics, virtual reality, web-based jobs, big data, e-health, application software developers, and artificial intelligence are all promising, job-creating fields. These new technologies not only reduce youth employment, but also have the capacity to stimulate our economy while providing innovative solutions to meet our needs. However, we must orient our education systems toward science and technology disciplines if we hope to achieve this objective. We are learning for the jobs of tomorrow today, because the future is being shaped by the actions we take today.

All types of technology require energy.  Mr. President, we can use our beautiful sunshine to generate energy for all of Mali and even export surplus supplies to other countries. We can also specialize in the manufacture of longer-lasting batteries. The sale of these batteries can help us better position ourselves in the global marketplace. Electrification will allow us to mechanize our agriculture and increase the resulting benefits (including higher crop yields and the creation of thousands of jobs in agribusiness). It will also facilitate democratization of the Internet, providing better quality at a lower cost.

The Internet will open up Mali, providing everyone with an opportunity to learn and have access to all of the world’s knowledge.  It will unleash talents and spur the creation of innovative business and startups to address development challenges. The digital revolution provides Mali with an opportunity to achieve its development in a cost-effective manner. It is my humble belief that technologies that are accessible to all will help boost our human capital and that energy, access to the Internet, and effective training of young people in new technologies is the winning formula to transform Mali into an emerging economy.

Thank you, Mr. President, for having taken the time to read my letter and, who knows, to leave me a comment and share this article with your African counterparts.

Ousmane Traoré-Mali, a Malian national, is a winner of the World Bank Africa 2019 Blog4Dev regional competition.

Authors

Ousmane Traoré

2019 Blog4Dev Winner, Mali

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