She was representing President Jammeh at the National Youth Conference and Festival (Nayconf) in Jarra Soma being held on the twin themes of youth entrepreneurship and sports development.
In her official opening address to thousands of youths drawn from all over the country, she remarked that the centre will be piloted at the Chamen Agricultural Centre in the North Bank Region and that already some 30 youths including women drawn from all the regions are currently in Benin undergoing a six-month training to serve as model agro-entrepreneurs.
“These along with the establishment of the National Enterprise Development Institute (Nedi), the National Youth Service Scheme (NYSS) and the National Sports Council (NSC) among others are all indications of The Gambia government’s commitment to the development of the youths in the face of many global challenges. This is all part of government’s pursuing of progressive development polices for the empowerment of youths at the national international levels,” the vice president said. She added that a crystal good example of this endeavour is the formulation of the National Youth Policy 1999-2008 and its follow up policy for 2009 to 2018.
“Let me remind you that the African Charter on Youths also called the Banjul Charter was also endorsed by the African heads of state and government at a meeting they held in The Gambia in 2006 and was ratified by The Gambia in 2009. This international document continues to be our legacy and guidance in championing youth empowerment as well as serving as the framework for youth development in the entire Africa,” she said.
In the area of sports, VP Njie-Saidy recalled the world-beating feat recorded by The Gambia especially in the youth category which included winning the Under-17 football titles on the home turf and in Algeria as well as reaching the World Series in that category, even in women’s football. She said the current amendments to the Sports Council Act will ensure greater transparency and good governance in sports administration in the country among other things.
Fabakay Kalleh, chairman of NYC the implementing agency of the event, said his organisation was the millennium present that the Gambia government has given to the youths of The Gambia. Kalleh further revealed that the 2014 Nayconf is set to be the biggest and most inclusive and educative event held in the 15-year history of the event. “We have for the first time achieved the sufficient participation of persons with disabilities and young people from all walks of our society including the attaya and ‘ghetto’ vous, Kalleh said adding that empirical evidence has shown that investing in young people ensures a viable future for any nation.
Speaking on the theme of this year’s event, youth entrepreneurship and sport development the NYC chairman said discussions will be held in conferences to prepare youths for their maximum participation in the Vision 2016 food self-sufficiency as well as draw general consensus on the framework of sports development in the entire country for youth development.
Mr Kalleh also joined the vice president in thanking the UNDP and all other collaborators in the realisation of youth empowerment projects in The Gambia.
He re-echoed government’s commitments to youth development by saying that, “despite the presence of ambivalent feelings by some institutions and individuals, there is one institution that has remained true to its values and commitment towards the young people of The Gambia and that is the Government of The Gambia.”
Others speakers included sports minister Alieu Jammeh and Governor Salifu Puye. The ten-day event continues with conferences, sporting and cultural events.]]>