On youth employment

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Youth empowerment is an essential component for a sustainable future. As youth account for about billions of the global population, yet, many of them are mired in poverty, vulnerable to abuse and living in circumstances that violate their human rights.

Rising unemployment rate among the young people is a challenge confronting many governments globally. The consequences are evident in the continuing exodus of young Gambian in search of better opportunities through the hot desert and across the Mediterranean to West locally called ‘Back way.’ For so long, unemployment has been a significant issue in this country and the previous government paid no or little attention.

Youth forms the lion share of the country’s population and as such the government should regard youth employment as one of its key priorities.

President Adama Barrow in his recent State of Our Nation’s address was somehow encouraging, citing relevant issues such as addressing youth unemployment. His address when it comes to youth employment has injected some sense of hope – hope in the face of a nation with a high youth population.    

As countries compete in this era of science and technology, government should open up more avenues for young people to harness and exploit their skills, thereby contributing their quota towards national development. A national policy on youth empowerment is nothing if it is not – in the first instance – an initiative that seeks to identify and put in place measures to improve the social, intellectual and material well being of the nation’s young people. Much can be done to empower our young people, if, for example, we can invest in the creation of enhanced sport and recreational facilities at the community level, and a much enhanced education system that begins with the home as an incubator and extends all the way to university and beyond.

“The youth need to be enabled to become job generators from job seekers.”
P.J. Abdul Kalam