Jammeh was speaking at the Ocean Bay Hotel in Bakau during the official opening ceremony of a two-day national orientation meeting of Creating Opportunities for Rural Youth (CORY), a new initiative that supports young rural women and men in West and Central Africa to become entrepreneurs. The event was organised by GYIN-Gambia.
He told the meeting: “When you go to rural Gambia for instance, today, the rains have started. Unfortunately the only people you find there are old people and women. The young people are not there. We know that youth migration has been a trend. But we know today, this situation has been exacerbated. Simply because it is sad to say but Lampedusa has called and the youths have answered en masse. According to the UNCHR report just by the end of last year, over 15,000 young people have made their way to Italy. Thousands more are stranded in Libya.
“And the reason many people are envious of Africa and they believed that Africa has prospects is because Africa has a youthful population. But now the situation we are facing is that our young people are moving out of the continent going to populate other continents. So which means the future that people have seen in Africa might no longer be there.
“So I think this project is really timely. It should have come yesterday. But now that it is here I think one of the things it is going to do is to develop the rural Gambia and provide for the rural goose what is available for the urban gander. But it is not enough to provide them [rural people] with training and create job and trade opportunities. The project should be able to make us to make more research and come up with innovative solutions to challenges our farmers are facing.”
He enunciated that young people in The Gambia have opportunities that others before them did not have. He went on: “We have the internet. We do travel. Let us see what others are doing in other countries and see how best we can prototype them here. Let us research and let us innovate, and then we can create more opportunities for young people,” said.
Laming AD Sanyang, a representative of International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, said his organisation has been organising radio shows over the radio, meetings at the Bantabas as well as enlightening farmers on IFAD’s activities within the country. These efforts, he added, were geared towards benefiting those young people who chose to stay at home, develop and take up farming as business.
He said: “So it is you [young people] who are eventually taking up those responsibilities. So this knowledge you are going to acquire here would be shared among your colleagues and your parents. Tell them they have not wasted their money on us. This is another opportunity that we can forge ahead and move along. Agriculture is the way of life in any nation. Without food what happens? You become hungry. A hungry man is an angry man.”
The National Coordinator GYIN-Gambia Mamadou Edrisa Njie said: “GYIN seeks to develop evidence-based, sustainable, scalable, and cost-effective agribusiness, entrepreneurship and leadership programs that seek to address the root causes of youth unemployment, thus create opportunities for young people and rural youths in particular to engage them in meaningful venture to be self reliance, thus improve their standard of living.”
The Cory national inception workshop provides a forum for 50 representatives and organisations, youth groups and government agencies to discuss and share information on how best to implement the Cory project in a specific country in West and Central Africa
In a 3-year time, the Cory project will focus on rural young women and men, ages 18-35 years, who are involved in agricultural production or activities associated with rural markets. The project targets rural youth institutions for business training, advocacy, networking and knowledge exchange – all with a 1:1 female-male ratio.
GYIN was established on the basis of an effective networking, mentorship, knowledge sharing, and collaboration platform for both poor urban and rural youth entrepreneurs.]]>