Nov 24, 2016, 9:45 AM
The director of Planning at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Musa Mbye, has said the MDGs single out the youth as a key target group, to develop and implement strategies for decent and productive work for youth by 2015 to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, promote gender-equality and ensure environmental sustainability.
Mr Mbye was speaking at the launching of the State of the World Population Report 2014 on the theme, “The power of 1.8 billion adolescents, youth and the transformation of the future,” held recently at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi.
“It is reported that out of 198 countries, 122 have a national youth policy. This shows that governments are increasingly aware of the need for legal and policy frameworks that respond adequately to young people’s needs, aspirations and demands,” he said.
Policy frameworks and strategies are needed in place to harness the transformation of the powers of the youth, he said, noting that the Government of The Gambia continues to prioritize youth empowerment and development in creating enabling environment through series of direct interventions for actualization of the aspirations of the youth.
“Institutions and policy instructions have been created to serve the youth of the country, directly under the Ministry of Youth and Sports, through institutions and instruments like National Youth Services Scheme, the National Youth Council, the National Enterprise Development Initiative, the President International Award, the National Youth Policy and its action plan,” he posited.
He said the respective institutions provide relevant skills, entrepreneurial training, micro-credit facility, leadership training, mentorship and apprenticeship to the youth.
The Government of The Gambia under President Jammeh has also created a platform through the biennial national youth conference and festival (NAYCONF), which is an occasion where young people from all walks of life within the country converge to enlighten themselves, reflect on their successes and challenges and make recommendations to government and all stakeholders for youth empowerment, he said.
The government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports would continue to create the enabling environment for young people of the country, for the future belongs to them, he affirmed.
He added that recently government through the National Assembly established and strengthened the National Enterprise Development Initiative (NEDI), as well as the National Youth Service Scheme, as a strategy for gainful employment across the length and breadth of the country.
All these investment initiatives are geared towards harnessing the potentials of young people to effectively partake in national development, he said.
The National Youth Policy (2009-2018) recognised youth as a political force and their participation in the political, social and cultural life of the country is an inalienable right of theirs, he said.
In the last presidential and parliamentary elections, young men and women did not only register to vote, they also contested and won parliamentary seats in certain constituencies, he said.
In the service and productive sectors of the country’s economy, the young people are actively engaged in business and agriculture, he added.
The government and its development partners have funding portfolios and programmes specifically targeting and benefiting youth and women, he said.
The government equally prioritizes the education and health of the young people of the country, he noted, saying the country could now boast of a national university providing essential knowledge and skills to youth of the country.
“Over the past couple of years we have been faced with a phenomenon which is taking away the cream of our societies, which is the ‘back way to Europe’ syndrome,” Mr Mbye stated.
This phenomenon has been a perilous journey for young people who otherwise would have been productive members of society the nation could rely on for development, he said.
“The outbreak of the Ebola in West Africa and its rapid spread clearly indicates what we need to do, and furthermore, Africa needs to educate its people to define our priorities based on our traditional and cultural orientations in line with Africa 2063 Agenda,” he added.