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Youth Forum: Youth economic empowerment top on my agenda, says Youth and Sports Minister

May 2, 2017, 11:20 AM | Article By: Sulayman Ceesay

Henry Gomez, Minister of Youth and Sports (MOYS), has said youth economic empowerment is topmost on his agenda as minister of youth and sports.

“Increasing the income opportunities available for youth, especially potential and returning migrants, is key for the future growth of the Gambian economy and inclusiveness of the society,” he said during the laying of a foundation stone at a youth centre in Essau village, Lower Niumi District, North Bank Region.

The centre, which will consist of 6 shops, a restaurant and 8 guestrooms, was funded by the natives of Essau in the diaspora.

The construction of the centre will hugely contribute to youth and sports development in the village, according to the official.

He said MOYS is charged with the responsibility for the development, promotion and regulation of youth and sports, MOYS is “responsible for policy evolution, coordination, monitoring and evaluation of youth and sports programmes and projects”, the minister added.

The Gambia’s National Youth and Sports policies are the main policy instruments that guide the work of the ministry, he added, saying the ultimate goal of the policies is to function as guide for the ministry and its partners to ensure that investment in youth and sports takes place across all sectors and in all policies and programmes.

“As a ministry, we have to make sure young people are guided and supported to stem the current migration trend,” Minister Gomez said, adding that it is crucial to “step up job creation and create more meaningful income opportunities” at home.

Sport is generally and widely accepted as a veritable instrument for social cohesion, personal growth and development.

“It is s a unifying and potent force,” Minister Gomez said, adding: “Sport has the capacity to galvanize societies as well as motivate athletes, both amateur and professional, to maximize their potential and to be the very best that they can be, particularly in consideration of the solidarity effects.” 

“Young people are potentially the most productive segment of society thus a critical stakeholder group in the national development process. This intervention is in line with our government development agenda and as a result I wish to assure you of my ministry’s support,” he assured the gathering.

Matarr Jeng, National Assembly member for Lower Niumi constituency, said the youth of the district are very much committed to the development of the area.

“The construction of this centre will be a very big boost for youth empowerment and development within the area and beyond. The Young people of this area are faced with a lot of development constraints and need support. The football field is in a very bad condition and needs to be fixed,” he added.

Sheriff Mboge, chairperson, regional youth committee, North Bank Region (NBR), in his remarks, said the youth centres are very important to youth development, because they are the place where young people meet, discuss issues and share experiences. 

“It is good for youth and development in all aspects,” he said. He added that the coming of the Essau Youth Centre is timely and will help improve sports and youth engagement in the community. 

He advised the youth to establish a management committee for the centre to enable its daily and effective management.

Lamin Darboe, representing Essau youth in the Diaspora, said their aim is to support the people of Essau, saying this is not the first support they had extended to the village.

“It is our responsibility as natives of Essau to contribute to its development,” he said. “We have other projects that will be coming in; we all know that government alone cannot do it all.”