Henry Gomez, Minister of Youth and Sports has stressed that Gambia’s
development aspirations under the new administration could not be realized if
adequate investment in youth is not made.
“Young people constitute more than 40% of the Gambia’s population,” he said during the opening of the 12 edition of National Youth Conference and Festival (NaYConF) 2017 at Basse, Upper River Region on Saturday, 16 December 2017.
NAYCONF is a biennial event which is meant to bring young people from all over the country and beyond together to share their experiences and dilate on issues that affect their lives.
The theme for NaYconF 2017 is ‘New Gambia: Challenges and Opportunities for youth’.
The event was meant to create a platform for youth voice, active participation and positive socialization among young people to discuss issues affecting them and map out a common roadmap and actionable programmes to addressing them.
He said the government of The Gambia was committed to the matters of youth development as set out in the national youth policy, the revised national development plan and new development blue print (2018-2021) and Africa’s Agenda 2063 and 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development Goals.
According to him, this year’s NaYconF would be a NaYconF with difference, because they have put in place strategic shift from the traditional approach to a more progressive and inclusive engagement on issues that affect the lives of youth.
“The conference component, instead of the usual conventional gathering will be divided into 10 thematic workshops to allow for effective and focused deliberations and will help us formulate the first ever Gambia Programme of Action on Youth 2018-2019,” he said.
He added that this would not only be a comprehensive framework for effective coordination of youth issues but also a programme tool for post NaYconF activity implementation.
He stated: “It is my hope that we will use this opportunity to reposition youth priorities in the New Gambia”.
He said his ministry through its satellite agencies would continue to devise ways and means of engaging young people to excel in all spheres of national economy.
Minister Gomez encouraged all young Gambians to take advantage of the opportunities provided by government and partners to meaningfully contribute to sustainable national development.
“Since NaYconF 2017 is the first in the New Gambia, I implore all of you to make best use of the platform to dialogue for peace and development of The Gambia,” he urged young people.