By Juldeh Njie The government of the Gambia in collaboration with the European Union and the International Trade Center ITC have signed an11-million dollars project to reduce poverty, promote equitable and inclusive development in the Gambia. Youth Employment Project, is a four-year project that aims to increase the income opportunities for the youths while equally building their skills. The project will also help diversify the Gambian economy by supporting new sectors, including the creative and digital services industries. Speaking at the event, minister of trade, industry regional integration and employment, Dr Isatou Touray, expressed gratitude to the EU delegation for accepting to fund this very important project. She said the government is ready to forge a new relationship with all the development partners. “We are aware that one of the challenges we inherit is a problem of illegal migration due to poor economic management which has constrained opportunities to create employment for the youths to stem the current migration trend. It is crucial to step up job creation and create more meaningful income opportunities at home. 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. “Our efforts to return the country on the path of growth must focus on areas or sectors that will create new jobs if the growth would mean anything to the people of this country. Therefore, we must trust with fruitful collaboration with our development partners, it is possible to achieve this goal. “I hope with the expert of the ITC we will be able to turn the tide against irregular migration by creating more jobs for the youths here at home. With your knowledge and experience of the Gambian environment gained over the years we have no doubt that ITC is a solid partner that would deliver to our expectation. Your market led approach to employment would help to create new opportunities for youth employment as trade and investment are powerful instruments of development,” she added. European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica said: “This initiative funded under the European Emergency Trust Fund for addressing root causes of instability and irregular migration in Africa will also give the opportunity to restore hope for members of the diaspora and Gambians who migrated abroad. “In the past years, so many young Gambians have fled their country. Today the Gambia needs all of its sons and daughters to rebuild the country. And you need them in the Gambia, not abroad. Pilot initiatives will be targeting the Diaspora more specifically by addressing their needs and promoting inclusive entrepreneurship schemes along various value chains with high potential for exports.” ITC Executive Director Arancha González said: “Today’s launch of the Youth Empowerment Project marks another building block to the construction of the New Gambia. One that will have youth, job creation and trade as its core element. “Trade will play a crucial role in achieving this and ITC is looking forward to working with the Gambian government, businesses, trade and investment support institutions to ensure that more jobs and opportunities are created for youth and entrepreneurs – and especially companies run by women.”]]>
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