Empowerment Project (YEP)-Africa, yesterday held a day stakeholder interface,
where they discussed Gambia’s leaked economic bucket and how young people can
participate in entrepreneurship.
Held at the West Coast Region Governor’s office in Brikama the stakeholders interface was organised under the theme: Let’s Cooperate to plug the leaked of our economic bucket.
Lamin Ceesay, YEP programme officer reminded entrepreneurs that it is only togetherness that the country can achieve her targeted goals. “This is why we decided to engage stakeholders to create an enabling environment where young people can effectively participate in the economic improvement.”
He said the gathering targets to bridge the gap between young entrepreneurs and stakeholders and discuss issues affecting entrepreneurship.
Operations manager Sirreh Darboe said YEP Africa exists for young people because they understand that about 65% of Gambia’s population are youth. “At the start of the organisation, we conducted a research and found that young people need to enter the market which led to the start of our entrepreneurship trainings.”
Ms. Darboe said entrepreneurship is not only about buying but also the products that one sells. “Today, I want to encourage you all to share information you gather from here. To us, we belief that youth are the change so if they don’t participate in the market, foreigners will take over.”
She said the leak is happening and the market is there but the products that Gambian entrepreneurs are providing is not enough to satisfy the demand.
Representing the chairman of Brikama Area Council, Ebrima Sawaneh assured young people of the council’s commitment to empower them. He said some of the challenges the council and all other councils are facing is that when a canteen is given to some Gambians, they will sub-let it out, mostly to foreigners.
Lamin K Sanneh, chairman of Young Social Entrepreneurs Network Group (YSENG); a network of YEP-Africa members that was created following the launch of the Yep Africa Investment Fund Project in March last year, said in The Gambia, entrepreneurs’ access to information is limited and such gathering will help to address some of the challenges. “Our markets are generally occupy by foreign investors and that is what is leading to the leaking of the bucket.”
Regional youth and sports coordinator Fabakary Sanneh said bringing young people together to discuss entrepreneurship is a genuine gathering. “We have to understand that majority of the government institutions are working on zero draft policy which mean employment is a hard thing to come by. Hundreds of students are graduating every year and there are no jobs created.”
He said Gambia is a task-based economy and if Gambians are not ready to take over the markets to boost the country’s economy and bring new jobs to homes, foreign investors will take over and they cannot do anything about it.
Administration and finance officer of Gambia Youth Chamber of Commerce Kawsu Fadera said to be active entrepreneurs, young people must always be able to plug the leaked economy and take control of the market.