The Minister of Youth & Sports, Henry Gomez has said that youth economic empowerment will be his ministry’s top agenda.
He said the increasing income opportunities available for youth, especially potential and the returning migrants, is key for the future growth of the Gambian economy and inclusiveness of the society.
The youth Minister was making this remark whiles presiding over the laying of a foundation stone for a youth centre in Essau, Lower Niumi District in NBR.
The centre which consists of 6 shops, restaurant and 8 guest rooms, is funded by the natives of Essau in the Diaspora. The construction of the centre, according to officials, will hugely contribute to the development of youth and sports in the village.
“MOYS is charged with the responsibility for development, promotion and regulation of youth and sports. As a ministry we will do our level best to ensure that we fulfil our mandate as required,” he said.
He continued: “As a result, it is responsible for policy evolution, coordination, monitoring and evaluation of youth and sports programmes and projects”.
Minister Gomez further stressed that the Gambia National Youth and Sports policies are the main policy instruments that guide the work of the ministry.
“The ultimate goals of the policies are to function as guides for the ministry and its partners to ensure that investment in youth and sports take place across sectors and in all policies and programmes,” he added.
He said as a ministry, they will ensure that young people are guided and supported to stem the current migration trend, adding that, it is crucial to step up job creation and create more meaningful income opportunities at home.
“Sport is generally and widely accepted as a veritable instrument for social cohesion, and personal growth and development. Is also a unifying and potent force, it also has the capacity to galvanise societies as well as motivate athletes, both amateur and professionals,” he said.
He said young people are potentially the most productive segment of society and thus a critical stakeholder group in the national development process.
“This intervention is in line with our government’s development agenda and as a result I wish to assure you of my ministry’s support,” he said.
The National Assembly member for Lower Nuimi, Matarr Jeng, said the youth of the district are very much committed to the development of the area, saying: “The construction of this centre will be a very big boost for youth empowerment and development within the area and beyond”.
He said there is clear evidence that young people in that area are faced with a lot of problems. “The football field is in a very bad condition and needs to be fixed as well”.
The chairperson NBR regional youth committee, Sheriff Mboge said youth centres are very important to youth development as they give the young people the platform to meet, discuss and share experiences, adding: “The Essau youth centre is timely and will help improve sports and youth engagement in the community”.
Meanwhile, the representative of the Essau youth in the Diaspora, Lamin Darboe said the centre built in Essau is just among many development initiatives in the area.
“It is our responsibility as natives of Essau to contribute to its development. We have other projects that will be coming in the future, we all know that government alone cannot do it all,” he stressed.