EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, THE GAMBIA: Gambia’s minister of women Affairs and overseer of the Office of the Vice President Friday said President Adama Barrow’s government is well aware of the disproportionate rate of youth unemployment in the country. She said over the past two decades, the country has experienced mass exodus of its young people to Europe and elsewhere around the world, mainly through the high seas.
Delivering a statement at the launch of the AU Roadmap on Harnessing Demographic Dividend at the Kairaba Beach Hotel, Madam Fatoumatta Jallow-Tambajang further said the government is aware of the “undesirable” state of the country and it is devising strategies to address them. “Unfortunately, the lack of quality education and employment has doomed the expectations of young people.
The African Union Heads of State and Government endorsed the African Union Roadmap on Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth at the AU Summit in January 2017. The Roadmap presents an unprecedented opportunity for countries to undertake profound changes to enhance youth development.
Madam Jallow-Tambajang said The Gambia government would always devise strategies and investment to ensure that young people are empowered. “To operationalise the roadmap, some key people have been given responsibilities,” she said.
She assured Gambian young people of the government’s unwavering commitment to their interest and welfare while thanking UNFPA for being a reliable partner in supporting government programmes.
Kunle Adeniyi, head of the UNFPA Gambia office said launching of the document is fulfilling to them, saying it was the Banjul +10 meeting that Gambia hosted some years ago that led to the development of the roadmap.
He said Africa’s population remains huge and demographic dividend demands that investment be made in young people. “When the largest percentage of the population is producing and earning, it help in determining the future,” he said. He said The Gambia is not alone in the circle and all other countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Mr. Adeniyi said when right investment is made on young people, there will be growth in the economy but if failure is made to do this, there will be mass migration. “Now, we have a choice to either put young people in productive engagement or to let them be what we don’t want them to be.”