Magazine article International Trade Forum

Empowering Youth in the Gambia: European Union and ITC Team Up to Boost Job Creation and Support Long-Term Economic Sustainability in the Gambia

Magazine article International Trade Forum

Empowering Youth in the Gambia: European Union and ITC Team Up to Boost Job Creation and Support Long-Term Economic Sustainability in the Gambia

Article excerpt

Earlier this year the Gambia celebrated when a new, democratically elected government led by President Adama Barrow took power. This seismic shift brought with it hopes and optimism among Gambians for a better and more sustainable future. However, building the new Gambia will be an uphill task requiring international support. One key challenge is to re-connect the Gambia with international markets to ensure economic growth and create jobs, particularly for the youth that make up 60% of the population.

In response to these challenges, the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Government of the Gambia launched a new initiative to support job creation and entrepreneurship for Gambian youth. The Gambia Youth Empowerment Project is a four-year project that will benefit from 11 million ($12.1 million) from the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa and strengthen the long-term competitiveness and viability of the country's economy.

'This initiative funded under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for addressing root causes of instability and irregular migration in Africa will also give the opportunity to restore hope for members of the diaspora and Gambians who migrated abroad,' says Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development.

'In the past years, so many young Gambians have fled their country. Today the Gambia needs all of its sons and daughters to rebuild the country. And you need them in the Gambia, not abroad,' Mimica says, 'Pilot initiatives will be targeting the diaspora more specifically by addressing their needs and promoting inclusive entrepreneurship schemes along various value chains with high potential for exports.'

INCLUSIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP

'The launch of the Youth Empowerment Project marks another building block to the construction of the new Gambia, one that will have youth, job creation and trade as its core element,' says ITC Executive Director Arancha Gonzalez.

'Trade will play a crucial role in achieving this and ITC is looking forward to working with the Gambian government, businesses, trade and investment support institutions to ensure that more jobs and opportunities are created for youth and entrepreneurs--and especially companies run by women,' Ms Gonzalez says.

UNLEASHING YOUTH POTENTIAL

By fostering economic opportunities, the Gambia Youth Empowerment Project will help stem the flow of young people leaving the Gambia in search of jobs abroad.

Irregular migration claims many Gambian lives and stifles the country's socio-economic development.

'The New Gambia dedicates itself to the battle against unemployment and creates the enabling environment for youths to unleash their potentials and together we shall succeed,' says Isatou Touray, the Gambia's Minister for Trade, Regional Integration and Employment.

Taking a market-driven approach, the Youth Empowerment Project will focus on building specific skills among youth in a number of traditional sectors such as agriculture and tourism. These sectors will continue to provide the bulk of economic development in the Gambia and must be recognized as the main drivers of socioeconomic progress and job creation. …

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