Nov 26, 2008, 5:34 AM
According to statistics, at least 20 per cent of Gambia’s active labour force is unemployed, and the Gambia government has said people should become self-employed as “this would bring the necessary flexibility to the labour market”.
“Young people, more especially, need this kind of flexibility in labour markets to realise their potentials,” said Abdou Jobe, the minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment, at the May Day commemoration on Sunday.
In a statement read on his behalf by Lamin Fofana, the minister said this approach ties well with current demographic situation of rising young youthful population of The Gambia.
“This demographic reality presents an opportunity for national development by harnessing the potential of the youth.
“Therefore, the government in partnership with key stakeholders provides the youth with equal access to opportunities that enable them grow, develop and prosper through self-employment ventures.”
However, he said the government continues to pursue programmes and projects to foster employment creation.
He pointed out that the EMPRETEC project and the Gambia Songhai Initiative are some of the recent interventions by the government to promote employ ability of the youths and women.
“The success of these projects would go a long way in dealing with unemployment, in general, and youth unemployment in particular,” the employment minister said.
“These interventions focus on entrepreneurship and enterprise development, education and skills development as important policy thrust for employment generation.”
He added that the government would continue to provide the policy response needed to address the unemployment situation. It will also strengthen inter-linkages in the productive sectors and required institutional arrangements needed to place employment at the center of the nation’s development agenda.
Minister Jobe said for a more equitable and shared prosperity, the construct of macro-economic and financial policies must lead to inclusive growth – growth that is employment-intensive, and that creates opportunities and decent jobs for all.
According to him, the government recognises that the country’s most critical resource is its people, who are not only the drivers of its development, but also at the pinnacle of its development agenda.
“It is in this regard that the government continues to allocate resources to human capital formation to enable the availability of a healthy and skilled labour force to industries, as well as enhance employ ability and employment of labour both in the formal and informal sectors of the economy,” Jobe went on.
“In order to create more employment opportunities for people, the government recognises the importance to create job creators rather than job seekers. “This is why the government gives particular attention to entrepreneurship development, enhancing private sector competitiveness, linking agriculture to industry as well as the service sector of the economy.
“It also encourages research, science and technology and innovation, vocational and technical skills development, productivity improvement, harnessing opportunities in labour migration and promotion of the green economy, among others, to enhance employ ability.”
May Day, also known as Workers Day, is commemorated annually on 1 May to recognise the contributions of workers in social-economic development of nations worldwide, and also to stand for solidarity of the working class of the world.