The annual event which attracts youths from all over the country has been a decisive event in shaping the landscape of discourse on matters related to young people over the years. About sixty four percent of The Gambia’s population are young people below the age of 25 and so it comes as a need albeit a keen one, to convene a forum such as this in coming up with proper decisions with the involvement of youths, who know more than any other policymaker their own plight.
The theme is a timely one. A lot of young people have perished in the high seas of the Mediterranean and a lot of others are caught in a vicious cycle of drug abuse and severe under unemployment. Instilling the spirit of entrepreneurship in the lives of the young can only yield a productive society that will eventually thrive on sustainability. The amount of money that is spent by the average youth who embarks on the infamous ‘back way’ journey to Europe can be used to operate a small business that can be developed with the proper guidance and know-how into a sustainable enterprise. We have seen success in some of these businesses. They are indeed achievable, hence the need for entrepreneurial skills and education.
Employment creation should be the main goal in the promotion of entrepreneurship among young people. The high rate of unemployment among the young people is daunting and while stakeholders keep organising conferences and never-ending summits on the need for employment without acting upon the resolutions, many young people have succumbed to lives of apathy and at most times of abusing all types of drugs available on our shores. Worse still we are all witnesses to how young people give themselves over at the beaches and hotels to tourists who put them under all forms of abuse and exploitation. Many of these young people don’t desire a life like this but the need to make a decent living and support their families drive them to those unfortunate plights.
Of course, the problem doesn’t lie with policymakers or stakeholders alone, it’s upon everyone who desires the development of the country. One of the platforms in making that development a reality is Nayconf itself. So it should be used for that purpose and not for young people coming together to just vent and rant about a failed generation. The dialogue should instead be inter-generational, wherein all come together and put forward the best interest of youth and work cohesively to bring about a total mutation in the whole process of youth development.
Sports development is of the essence in a land where almost all young people are actively involved in some sort of sports activity. The excitement that a football game or an athletic competition causes is a clear testimony to the major impact sports shares in the national psyche. The provision for its development with the many policies of the government should be a foregone conclusion. Sports like any other activity requires support to thrive and this doesn’t mean only financial and material support but intellectual and other forms. There must be a scholarly effort to delineate sports and its various branches. Physical education in schools should be enhanced too to complement the other end of the broad spectrum.
We hope the conference and festival will be fruitful and what is said there will be put into consideration. Nayconf is a powerful tool in shaping not only the destiny of young people but eventually the country itself. Without overlooking that fact, we hope it will be meaningful and interactive. We wish all participants a fruitful event!]]>