Dear Honorable Ministers,
It was with great sadness that the World Bank team learned of the untimely passing of Vice-President Badara Alieu Joof. As the news spread, many of us – including our own current team and other colleagues who knew Vice President Joof along the way - started to informally share their memories and reflections. As a way of celebrating his life, we thought some of the above sentiments may resonate with you and your team…
- He was a visionary who could see someone in a small regional school and understand their leadership potential, convince them to take on new responsibilities, and coach/mentor them to realize that potential in the service of the children and youth of their country. Again and again, those leaders became change-makers and innovators. His commitment didn’t wane when he left public service to join the Bank, and no one was surprised when he left again to go back to serve his country. I got to know Badara and his family over the many years I worked in The Gambia, and I can only imagine how devastating this loss will be for all of them.
- He was the mentor/teacher of so many and will be truly missed.
- I remember working with Badara as the WB Liaison Officer. What was touching is how he had inspired and mentored pretty much every single person in the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education at the time. Many of our colleagues were his students when he was a teacher. They all said that he was demanding (but learnt a lot), always kind and supportive. He was a real leader with strong values yet humble. I can still hear him laugh which he did a lot.
- It goes without saying that he has always been a champion for education and truly dedicated his life to bettering education in his country and beyond. He was a visionary for the sector in The Gambia, working across the entire continuum of education throughout his long career. In recent years he tirelessly rallied colleagues and his countrymen and women around huge aspirations for higher education. In his most recent appointment as Vice President it was amazing to see him be able to broaden this vision to cut across all sectors to improve the lives of Gambians.
- While at the Bank, he did many years of groundbreaking work on reaching young people without traditional schooling through now well-known innovations and partnerships with majalis in The Gambia, and daaras in Senegal. This work continues and serves as a model for other countries in the region.
- For those who worked closely with him at the World Bank and while he was in Government, we will of course all recall that he was blessed with an impressive memory and the amazing gift to be able to cite sage words from poets, statesmen, philosophers, writers and beyond to suit just about any circumstance and challenge that came up along the way. One can imagine that such an ability served him well as a teacher in his younger years, and that there are many, many students who benefitted from his wise words along the way.
- Indeed, it is a big loss for The Gambia, for Africa, and for education especially.
On behalf of the Bank’s Education team, we would like to express our deepest sympathy and sincere condolences for this tragic loss. He will be missed.
The World Bank Education Team for The Gambia