By Aisha Tamba
President Adama Barrow on Friday launched a new youth employment strategy targeting to create 150,000 jobs in next five years.
The initiative, called National Employment Policy and Action Plan 2022-2026, was launched after the official closure of the Tekki-Fii programme at a local hotel in Senegambia.
Speaking at the event, President Barrow hailed the Tekki-Fii programme for its successful accomplishments over the years.
He pointed out high inflation increased food insecurity, eroding household incomes, and undermining employment and economic growth.
“We must recognise and admit that the situation is not the fault of the Government or any Gambian citizen. Like other countries, The Gambia is vulnerable to external shocks. Although our heavy dependence on imports makes us especially vulnerable to inflation and economic disruptions, no nation has been spared,” Barrow said, adding that “though we have weathered the pandemic crisis better than other countries, the effects of the global shocks continue to dampen our recovery and growth outlook.”
The president revealed that the Tekki-Fii programme has created and sustained more than nine thousand (9000) jobs, enabled more than seven thousand (7000) young Gambians to undergo skills training, and worked with close to five thousand (5000) small businesses.
“These results are offshoots of my government’s youth-centred and private sector-led growth agenda. They reflect our drive to invest in the marketable skills of young Gambians, foster a culture of entrepreneurship, innovation and self-employment, boost the growth of small businesses, and add value to Gambian products and services,” he said.
He explained that the National Employment Policy and Action Plan is expected to form the cornerstone to tackle unemployment and underemployment and to improve living standards in the country. “It seeks to accelerate job creation, in accordance with the objective of stimulating the private sector as the engine of growth.
Overall, the policy target is to create one hundred and fifty thousand (150,000) jobs over a period of five years. This is an ambitious objective but, with the concerted efforts of the Government and our partners, it is attainable. We are committed to the target, and I call on our partners to support this worthy cause,” he said.
The European Union Ambassador, Mr Corrado Pampaloni, said the EU will support Gambia to boost the green growth agenda and is committed to support actions creating resilience and supporting people to adapt to climate change.
“We will take an integrated approach towards biodiversity conservation, ecosystem restoration and employment creation. The EU will support the recovery in the tourism sector. We will support the stakeholders to invest in new sustainable and inclusive products and experiences that will help diversify the market, attract more visitors, and capture more value from the industry,” the ambassador said.