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City of Banjul
Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The ‘back-way’ exodus and employment creation

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Yesterday The Standard carried a story that highlights this sad reality. Three people dead and one of our Gambian sons arrested for people smuggling and causing the death of a migrant. The news from ‘Radio Back-way’ is too sad.  

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Every year thousands, increasingly Gambians use the infamous ”back-way” route to try to reach the supposed ‘El Dorado’ of Europe. Countless young people have lost their lives in the process and usually those who make it to the shores of Europe are forcefully taken into refugee camps and others imprisoned, languishing in very horrible conditions. According to Frontex, the European Union border agency, 42,000 illegal immigrants have reached the EU between January and April this year, a four-fold increase on the same period last year.

 

Additionally, Italian authorities have reported that so far during May a further 14,000 migrants arrived in the country’s territory – through key central Mediterranean routes for illegal immigration – bringing the total so far this year to at least 55,000. It seems the numbers are only increasing. 

 

The main reason given by most of the young people who risk such perilous journeys is the lack of gainful employment in the country. And there are thousands of young people in this country who are doing everything to follow suit. 

 

So the government and all relevant stakeholders are supposed to take concerted efforts in dealing with this problem. Employment creation should be accelerated. Salaries and wages of most of the workers in this country are too low to cover even the needs, not to talk of the wants, of the people. 

 

The private sector like all other sectors of society should also be advised to help the government in making this dream of creating a productive youth force through employment creation a possibility. The young people are the big pins that hold together the seams of the society. Therefore, any clear and present danger to their meaningful development should be dealt with holistically and urgently. We must find the solutions to their problems. 

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