Sep 18, 2008, 5:37 AM
He made this call in a statement read on his behalf by the Vice President, Isatou Njie-Saidy, during the opening of the 2014 biennial event on Saturday held at the Jarra Soma mini-stadium in the Lower River Region.
The President stated that the NaYConF provides an opportunity for all, especially the young to contribute constructively to the development of their country in all dimensions.
“It should, therefore, be the collective responsibly of every patriotic Gambian and true friend of The Gambia to come up with realistic and achievable targets, ideas and strategies to improve our collective well-being for our common good,” he said.
The President expressed the hope that the conference would generate ideas from the participants and stakeholders for the progress and development of youths and sports in The Gambia.
“NaYConF has proven and continues to prove its relevance as we champion, despite our size as a small country, the cause for greater and positive youth engagement and participation in policy formulation at national, sub-regional, regional and global level,” he went on.
The 2014 naYConF theme: “Youth Entrepreneurship and Sports Development” was “timely and benefitting”, the President continued.
President Jammeh added that entrepreneurship involves human creativity and innovation buttressed by the ability to plan, manage, grasp opportunities and adapt to changing environments, noting that the “willingness to take risk is also crucial.”
“It is in this spirit of motivation and achievement that our youths are called upon to embrace in order to make their contribution to national economic development, especially at a time when we are faced by challenges to be innovative and productive in order to eliminate our dependence on imports for our stable foods,” he further stated.
He also described the sports dimension of the theme as an important part of his government’s youth development programme.
Sports enhances education by promoting better cognitive functioning, better health through physical fitness and disease prevention, gender balance through empowerment of girls and women and all-inclusive for persons with disabilities, he said.
Sport is a tool with a high potential to strengthen social ties and networks, to promote the ideal of peace, fraternity, solidarity, non-violence, tolerance and justice, he added.
“To the sports participants and enthusiasts, sports nurtures self-esteem, positive peer relationship, teaches sportsmanship and other essential life-long skills, and hence has the potential to alleviate the negative effects of poverty,” he continued.
The ten-day national youth event features a five-day national youth conference, at the end of which youths are expected to come up with resolutions.
They will be presented to government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS) to consider for implementation.
The major activities at the 2104 NaYConF include the inter-regional competition in six sporting disciplines of football, basketball, volleyball, athletics, wrestling and Paralympics for both male and female categories.