EU warns against disappointing hopes, expectations of returnees

By Aisha Tamba

The EU Ambassador to The Gambia has warned that failing to meet expectations of returnees would not be wise.
“More than ever we need to create entry-level jobs for young people,” he said.
Attila Lajos sounds the warning bells last Sunday at the launching of ‘Tekki Fii’ project, which coincided with the 13th edition of the Gambia Trade Fair International.
“Our European partners from Germany (GIZ- the German Technical Cooperation Agency), Belgium (Enabel – the Belgian Development Agency), and Portugal (IMVF) join forces to implement a new and ambitious programme ‘Make It In The Gambia’” or ‘Tekki Fii’ in Wolof.

He said Enabel and IMVF will work jointly to promote job creation, mainly in the agricultural sector.
“Agricultural as we all know, is a key driver of development all over the world, including West Africa.”
He noted that Enabel and IMVF will create employment and boost salaries along agricultural value chains such as vegetables, rice and poultry.
He explained that the objective is to make agribusiness attractive to young people by applying climate-smart and market-oriented practices that will increase quality local products.

“Agribusiness can be a vibrant economic sector that allows people to excel in their communities. From production to processing and trade, over 1,000 agribusiness will be reinforced, and 200 rural youths will trained on job skills,” he said.
He also said that Enabel and IMVF will work to rebuild rural infrastructure including access to water, storage, rural roads, processing units and protective fencing for marketing gardens.
“All this will happen under the motto ‘train the youths to do more, do better, and do so skillfully,” he stated.

He added that these Belgian and Portuguese partners are also seeking to improve the quality of life of young people in rural areas. He said they will support community organisations to provide meaningful activities to help shape lives.
“Sports channels our energy and brings out the best in us, for ourselves and our community, so that we may live in unity and peace. 1,000 young people will benefit from improved sports facilities in rural areas” the Ambassador revealed.

“GIZ, our German partners, will provide training courses on entrepreneurship,” he noted.
He said GIZ will work closely with selected training centres, such as Insight Training Centre, GTTI, President’s Award Scheme, and Chigambas Skills Training Centre.
“All in all, 3, 000 young people will be trained through these actions,” he said.
Lajos also talks up the importance of renewable energy initiatives and said solar systems will be set up in the Lower and Upper River Regions to help provide an income.
He said under the ‘Make It In The Gambia’, the ITC and Yep are expected to expand and fast-track support to young Gambians, focusing on two sectors with high potential. “These sectors are tourism and creative industry,” he added.

He expressed hope that ‘Tekki Fii’ project will strengthen skills related to hospitality sector, and focus on the content and quality of the training manual of the Gambia Tourism Hospitality Institute (GTHI), bringing the number of young entrepreneurs to receive support to 4,400.

“The new activities will also include a mentorship programme focusing specifically on women entrepreneurs. We want to ensure that women and girls participate fully in all aspects of our project, as without them, we will never achieve the freedom and peace we aspire each day,” he concluded.

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