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Youth Forum: NaYConF - opportunity for youths to address their concerns

Dec 16, 2014, 1:37 PM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

The 11th edition of the biennial National Youth Conference and Festival (NaYConF) started in earnest on Friday, this time in the Lower River Region (LRR), where the commercial town of Jarra Soma plays host to the 10-day event that was organized by the National Youth Council (NYC).

NaYConF, which is the biggest gathering of the country’s youths, this year has brought together 2000 participants from all over the country and beyond, to share experiences and deliberate on issues that affect their lives.

The theme for the 2014 NaYCONF is: “Youth entrepreneurship and sports development”, and we are calling on the participants to point out critical issues that hinder their development in business and sports.

The majority of the youths in this country are either involved in entrepreneurship or sports. Therefore, these two sectors are not only critical, but indispensable to the development of youths and The Gambia as a whole.

Hence, the need to engage in a correct assessment of how the condition of youths in this country could be continually improved.

To inculcate and maintain the culture of entrepreneurship in youths of this country, the government and its partners must collaborate to put in more resources into teaching entrepreneurship and supporting entrepreneurs, so as to make a difference in the lives of the young people and the national economy.

Besides, access to finance for young entrepreneurs is a key concern. Even if the financing is available, the interest rate attached to bank loans is prohibitive.

Exorbitant interest rates make it very difficult for young people to break even with loan financing.

Furthermore, entrepreneurship cannot be fully enhanced in the absence of good vocational and skills education.

In The Gambia, though we have many institutions offering various vocational and technical courses, the accessibility of these courses is a concern because of the fees charged.

In addition, there should be tax incentives for small-scale start-up entrepreneurs.

Just as it is for start-up corporate juggernauts, it should be for youths who have the initiative and determination to venture into any type of legal concern.

In the area of sports, one of the main issues that should be looked into is how to make sports a means of livelihood, not just a hobby.

If the youths are to take up sports, through the encouragement of their parents, then they must be able to make a living out of it.

The issues raised herein are just pointers to help the youths discuss some critical, but important issues that may be affecting them in one way or the other.

They should take the opportunity provided by NaYConF 2014 to make their voices heard, so that the end of the event, quality resolutions on youth entrepreneurship and overall sports development in The Gambia can be developed in order to ameliorate their situation.