He explained: “At the centre of all our efforts to attain economic superpower status is the youth who constitute a high percentage of our population. Instead of embarking on perilous journeys to reach Europe illegally, the youth should take advantage of the numerous opportunities created by government for decent and honourable living. The University of The Gambia was established to cater for the human capital development needs of our country. Today, the university has graduated many young Gambians in various fields of specialisation relevant to our development needs. When the UTG main campus in Faraba-Banta is complete, more disciplines relevant to our economic development will be introduced. Apart from the UTG, we have encouraged the establishment of many tertiary institutions for middle level skills development programme and thankfully, these institutions are producing technicians for businesses and industry.
He added: “Economic development in The Gambia has grown rapidly since July 1994 with great achievements in the key social sectors of education, health, public infrastructure, the productive sectors as well as the services sector. According to the 2013 Human Development Report, The Gambia’s Human Development Index (HDI) value increased from 0.279 in 1994 to 0.439 in 2013; representing an increase of 57 percent or average annual increase of about 1.4 percent. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been growing at a rate of 5-6 percent over the last four years of which agriculture currently contributes between 25 – 30 percent. This share of GDP is rapidly expanding largely driven by significant investments in the sector since 1994.
“The Gambia is on track to achieve the MDGs relating to education, health, water and sanitation, gender parity, reduction of maternal and infant mortality rates and overall poverty reduction. Using the US$1.00 per day per person poverty index, the incidence of poverty has been reduced considerably from 68 percent in 1998 to 36.7 percent in 2010. Today we are closer to achieving full employment and decent incomes for all Gambians including women and young people than we were 20 years ago”.]]>