Gov’t is concerned about youth development

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Landing B. Sanneh, general manager of the National Enterprise Development Initiative (NEDI), has said that the government of The Gambia was very much concerned about the development of young people, especially in youth employment.

He said the Ministry of Youth and Sports through its satellite institutions has little time to relax.

Mr Sanneh was speaking recently during the opening of five-day entrepreneurship training for 20 young people at Bwiam, West Coast Region.

The training was organized by NEDI with funding from Youth Empowerment Project, a European Union funded project to curb irregular migration in The Gambia.

The five-day training was meant to equip 20 young and aspirant entrepreneurs to basic entrepreneurial skills and development.

“Our main concern is to pave the way for our young people to be meaningfully engaged for the benefit of our communities and country,” he said.

He said there was need to support the development of young people in this country, stating that this was clearly mentioned in The Gambia youth policy, in which entrepreneurship was a whole component.

Mr Sanneh further said this was meant to build the competence of young people in terms of their skills to be able to participate effectively and meaningfully to the socio-economic development of the country.

According to him, unemployment among young people stands at 38 percent in the country.

 “The facts remains that the government and partners cannot provide jobs for all of us and for us at enterprise development industry, we have the belief that the most sustainable way of creating employment is entrepreneurship,” he said.

He noted: “Entrepreneurs did not rely on people to employ them, but rather they rely on themselves for employment and employ others.”

“At NEDI we believe it is time we make entrepreneurs and we cannot only make entrepreneurs out of the blue, we have to build an entrepreneurial culture and concept,” he stated.

He noted that this has to start from imparting knowledge and skills to their targets, young people and women to be able to participate in entrepreneurial activities.

Ousman Sonko, lead trainer, stressed thatthe training was very crucial, because it not only helps in building one’s competence, but most importantly it helps in building one’s confidence level.

He said the participants would be exposed to marketing, record keeping, financial management, networking and partnership, resource mobilisation among others.

Fatou Mbenga Jallow, project coordinator of Youth Empowerment Project (YEP), said the training was beingconducted as part of activities under the MoU that YEP signed with NEDI.

She disclosed that YEP was launchedin February 2017 as the first project signed by The Gambia, funded by European Union for a period of four years and is being implemented by International Trade Centre and it is supported by the Ministry of Trade and Youth and Sports.

“YEP relied on partners and we have 19 partnerships that have been formed since the project was launched including NEDI. It is a project that is youth centered, youth driven and owned as well,” she stressed.

She said what they are looking at YEP is how they can support the Gambia to create more sustainable jobs and increase the income prospects and levels for the youth.

She noted that their main objective was to look at the root causes of irregular economic migration, adding that entrepreneurship helps one to be able to grow or set up their businesses.

According to her, there are lots of opportunities that are out there for young people of The Gambia.