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Youth vital in economic development

Nov 2, 2010, 12:11 PM

The commemoration of African Youth Day is a good move taken by African governments, but the celebrations should not stop only at making mere statements.

We strongly believe that the plight of the youth should be taken seriously, because they contribute positively towards the socio-economic development of any nation.

It is high time that African governments started addressing the issue of youth unemployment, and the related poverty haunting its youthful population, so as to save the youth of the continent.

It should also be noted that when the unemployment rate is high in any country, the youth, who are mainly hit by it, become despondent and nurture a tendency to violence leading to an increase in the crime rate. African governments should come up with realistic youth policies that would address in earnest the problems confronting the youth of the continent, for the good of Africa and her people.

We have to understand that, without the contribution of young people, it will be very difficult for any nation to achieve meaningful development.

In The Gambia, government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports, has created several youth assistance programmes such as the National Youth Service Scheme (NYSS), NEDI, GAMJOBS, the President's International Award and the National Youth Council (NYC), which are all geared towards engaging the youth to actively participate in the development of the country.

We would also like to challenge the youth, as the future leaders, to be serious with their education and to learn lucrative skills, so they would be able to take their rightful position in the socio-economic development of their respective countries.

If they fail to live up to expectations, they will not only fail the elders, but Africa as a whole.

Former president of Ghana, John Kufour, in calling on African youth to contribute in the growth and development of Africa, made this plea to the youth:

"Your continent and its nations need your energy, your dynamism, your creativity and, above all, your dreams for the development of its component states."

The day is meant not only for a match-past, singing and dancing. It should also be seen as a stock-taking day to reflect on the achievements and constraints, as well as on the way forward for the youth.