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Monday, June 27, 2022

NAMs tell Ecowas Parliament gov’t created many opportunities for youth

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By Alagie Manneh

A five-member delegation of Gambian NAMs have told the sub-regional parliament in Abuja yesterday that The Gambia government created numerous programmes for the actualisation of its youthful population.

The country is witnessing a high level of youth unemployment at 38 percent, one of the highest in the region with more than 79 percent of the population under 35, according to Statista.

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The delegation, headed by NAM Billay G Tunkara, is in Abuja to present the Gambia Country Report to the First Ordinary Session of the Ecowas Parliament. The report details the progress towards the implementation of Ecowas texts and protocols and the way forward for a complete regional integration.

“For instance, the Government, in collaboration with the European Union (EU) Emergency Trust Fund for Africa has initiated the Youth Empowerment Project (Yep) which seeks to address the economic root causes of irregular migration by supporting youth employment and entrepreneurship. The six-year project, which started in January 2017, takes a market-led approach to improving the skills and employability of potential and returning migrants according to demands of the job market and simultaneously creating employment opportunities along Gambian value chains,” the lawmakers reported.

They also informed in their report that the “YEP project has either created or sustained over 2,000 jobs for young people, trained over 2,500 in vocational skills, and supported over 3,400 young people on entrepreneurship and access to finance schemes.

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“The UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) funded by the EU, in partnership with the International Trade Centre (ITC), and under the tutelage of the government of The Gambia, has equally launched the ‘Jobs, Skills and Finance (JSF) for Women and Youth in The Gambia Programme’ since 2018.

“The aim of the JSF programme is to create 3,000 direct jobs for women and youth, thereby contributing to stabilising the economic, social and security situation of the country. Through this initiative, the programme has made tremendous efforts in facilitating social inclusion and employment of the youth and women, with specific emphasis on promoting gender equality and addressing climate change,” the report noted.

It added that the Government is aware of the challenges posed by a growing youthful population, acknowledging that the issue has “raised many questions”, including the issue of employment, and the assuring of a decent standard of living. 

The report, which also detailed among many others the current economic and social situation in the country, security, human rights and health, reiterated that The Gambia is “ever committed” to the ideals of the Regional Bloc and that it “shall never relent” in its efforts for the integration of the Ecowas Community.

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