of the Gambia National Youth Council (NYC) has said at the launch of youth
Connekt Gambia last week that young people deserve the right to live their
dream in the country instead of dying in the deserts and oceans while hoping to
reach Europe and other Western nations in search of opportunities.
Dembo Kambi said to make this a reality, there is need for young people to be given the space and dialogue to contribute in designing and implementing polices and strategies to allow their creativity and entrepreneurship to thrift and promote the country’s transformation process.
He said it has being reported that about 56.8 per cent of Gambian youth are unemployed, saying education and training remained a challenge to those youth, which is one reason why some of them embark on the backway migration and other social vises.
Mr. Kambi said the Youth Connekt submit will provide a platform for young people to pick business ideas to create opportunities for partnership and investment attraction. “This actions, initiatives and commitment are timely and come at a time when youth unemployment has increased from 38 to 41.5 per cent, according to the 2018 labor force survey.”
The summit is one of the National Development Plan (NDP) targets to reduce youth unemployment rate from 38 to 25 percent, create 250, 000 opportunities through relevant education, training and enrollment in workplaces. It also targets to identify, nurture and grow 10, 000 leaders that would provide solution and participate in advocacy and become role models in their communities.”
The NYC Chairman said the aim of the summit is also to discuss a wide range of issues that affect young people and find innovative and sustainable solutions to address them, including issues of unemployment, employment creation, access to ICT, closing the gender gap and nurturing young leaders for present and the future.
He further told the gathering that it is logical and smart for all actors and stakeholders to support and empower youth in skill development and employment creation. “When leaders engage young people with the core to create policies, strategies and opportunities, the impossible will become a possibility,” he said.
He stressed that if youth are given the necessary space and the attention, they can help in unleashing youth creativity that is needed in reaping demographic dividend.
Mr. Kambi solicited government support to provide enabling environment and resources that will help encourage youth participation and empowerment in creating national youth development funds.
“We the young people want the domestication of the Africa youth development funds by the government of The Gambia to create national youth development fund that will support youth development and youth empowerment,” he emphasized.
He again solicit governments support in strengthening policies and operational capacities of National Enterprises Development Initiatives, National Youth Service Scheme, National Sports Council and National Youth Council, saying these are the institutions that work directly with young people in their various communities. “Mobility has really been a concern for these four satellite institutions under the ministry of youth and sports.”
Chairman Kambi said youth participation in national development is a concern of the National Youth Council, saying achieving the goals of youth Connekt requires great political leadership and support.
Madam Nancy of UNDP said youth issues are at the center in their work, saying, “we hope that the youth Connekt will be a platform with different streams of work in support of youth empowerment and an engagement in a more collaborative and coherent way.”
She encouraged delegates of the summit to recognise the diversity of Gambian young people and to understand that in diversity there is strength.
She conveys UNDP’s continued commitment to the youth agenda and assured them that they will continue to work with other UN and developing partners to enhance youth empowerment agenda in The Gambia.
Hadrammeh Sidibeh, minister of youth and sports said the summit is also aimed at bringing together over 200 policy makers and policy influencers, including young people to discuss on issues affecting them and to find innovative and sustainable solutions relating to employment creation, closing the gender gap and nurturing young people as future leaders.