Gambia: VP Touray Urges African Youths To Be Critical Minded

The Gambia Vice President Dr. Isatou Touray has urged African youths to be more critical minded and use non-violent means of engaging their governments in addressing their concerns, aspirations and wishes.

She made the statement Tuesday at opening of 3rd African Youth Forum Organize by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO OHCHR, other United Nations agencies, CODESRIA, Trust Africa, ARTICLE 19 and the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation, in close collaboration with the Gambia Government, PAYNCOP and the African Commission on Human and People’s Right (ACHPR) at a local hotel..

“Am very happy to hearing young people saying we want development, we want to move forward, we want to alleviate poverty and I believe the only way we can achieve these is to move in a way that is non-conflict means of engagements. We need critical minds and critical consciousness, is not seating down and go out there and organized protests and start attacking because you don’t know where it will end”, said Dr. Isatou Touray.

The forum known as Banjul + 3 Forum will also focus on the roles and place of young women and men in the areas of reflection namely; democracy, human rights, guarantee of freedoms expression, governance, peace and security, heritage, creativity and social transformations.

Organizers says the forum the objective is to provide young African leaders of both sexes, of all categories and backgrounds with a platform to reflect and exchange between different segments of youth and to give them the opportunity to interact with other actors in the societal space to create the necessary synergies to bring solutions to their problems and those of society.

Dr. Touray, challenge African youths to love their continent by protecting the continent, their countries and communities in a bid to move Africa forward.

She pointed out that war and conflict will only derail the growth and progress of the continent at a time when other regions are on the move.

“Dear participants the current political and developmental discourses we are facing are competitive, the various political economies that are dominant in developmental discourses are acknowledging and recognizing’s the potentials of our continent.

Therefore, they are focusing attention on Africa which is very positive and we as Africans must be ready to take this advantage, we must also be ready to engage our leaders in a peaceful, non-violent means in our collective desire to move the continent forward”, VP Touray told young African.

She called on the African youths to work towards changing the narratives about Africa from negative to positive, noting that all what is said of Africa is about killings, tribal and ethnic problems, the unruly behaviors of the youths plus everything negative about Africa, arguing that continent’s youths can learn from the positive stories of The Gambia youths who ended 22 years of dictatorship in the country through non-violent means.

“The Gambian youths and women were leaders in changing the country from dictatorship to a democracy through the use of the social media and in a non-violent way. We mobilize, we organized ourselves, shares one common mission to change what was happening because we were all suffering and this was done through the use of the social media in a positive way.

The use of the social media is not to create problems or to create coup’d’état on the various social platforms”, Gambia’s Vice President told African youths.

Dr. Touray said the doors of The Gambian Government is widely open to engage, promote and enhance the potentials growth and development of youths, nothing that youths are the leaders of today and tomorrow and President Adama Barrow government will leave no stone unturned as far as youth matters are concern.

Source Voice Gambia

British Diplomat Urges Gambian Youth to Take Up Self-Employment Ventures

British High Commissioner, Sharon Wardle

British High Commissioner to The Gambia has called on young people in the country to take advantage of the enabling environment and take up self-employment ventures so as to create more job opportunities for themselves and the country in particular.

Sharon Wardle was speaking during an interview held over the weekend at a Gunjur International Bird watching Fair and Eco-tourism Conference.

The fair, which attracted personalities and specialists on Eco-tourism Management and the Protection of Biodiversity, was held at Dalaba Eco-lodge and Resort in Gunjur.

High Commissioner Wardle said there is an obvious optimistic future for the country’s youthful population, especially in the area of self employment creations and other opportunities, saying this can only be realised if both the government and her youthful citizenry work closely to achieve their set target goals.

She further commended the organisers of the Gunjur International Birdwatching Fair and Eco-tourism Conference for taking up a bold initiative in conserving the country’s eco-tourism and the natural resources.

This, she said, would help greatly in mitigating climate change challenges, noting that the world’s biodiversity including its flora and fauna is everyday becoming under threat.

High Commissioner Wardle explained that by the year 2050 the world will experience less aquatic animals including its fish species than ever before.

“We have to bear in mind that the increasing climate change threats we are everyday facing and our biodiversity is getting worse and has no doubt leave behind our natural flora and fauna. The world by 2050 will be experiencing a huge reduction in number of fish in our ocean. So it is important to conserve our natural resources for the future generation,” she added.

She assured that her office as a foreign department is very much committed to working with the country’s youthful population and government so as to support its national development programmes and initiatives.

Source The Point

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Gambia: GYCC commits to private sector youth micro-enterprise development to create jobs

Gambia Youth Chamber of Commerce (GYCC),

Gambia Youth Chamber of Commerce (GYCC), the umbrella body and voice of youth entrepreneurs in The Gambia said they are committed to advocating for the creation an enabling environment that will facilitate an organized, vibrant, robust, functional, sustainable and competitive private sector youth micro-enterprise sub-sector that will be positioned to create jobs, generate wealth and contribute to GDP through innovative intervention mechanisms and constructive engagement.

The commitment targets to prepare, develop, nurture and support the establishment of functional youth micro-enterprises and generate employment opportunities across the country through the implementation of the micro-enterprise activities.

Gambia has a host of enterprising youth entrepreneurs in diverse sectors of the economy all around the country.

This is in line with GYCC 2017-2020 strategy and Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) 2017 -2020) objective to tackle the economic root cause of irregular migration through increase job opportunities and income prospect for youth.

With this, there is hope that there will be increase networking, wealth and a potential space for partnership and business linkages for young people.

It will promote synergy within the sector at regional level and help in the strengthening of the Chamber activities and membership drive strategy.

They are committed to create the space for young people to exhibit their products and services, network with other enterprises to unlock wealth and boost the economic growth of young people. The Chamber members also said they are committed to create a regional chapter to enable decentralisation of the function of the chamber.

Research and assessment has indicated an increase demand for the Chamber service to the communities and buy into the idea of establishing regional chapters to attend to the needs of these entrepreneurs.

It is critical to know that this cohort of our society are being marginalized and left unprepared to contribute to national development.

To get the most out of the investment, exhibitions are the perfect platform for meeting key people in the industry – giving the opportunity to market business face-to-face, talk to as many people as possible, network and take time to learn about their business.

Source The Point

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Gambia: GCCI unveils project to support youth entrepreneurship

GCCI officials

Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) have unveiled a youth entrepreneurship sustainability project to help sustain youth businesses in the country. It is described to be a significant youth economic empower project designed to support young people to achieve their entrepreneurship ambitions.

The day long launch was held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel and brought together GCCI officials, Ministry of Trade and youth.

President of African Governance Institute (AGI) Abdoulie Janneh, said youth are the cream of any nation and once they are empowered, the entire nation will be improved. He said AGI was first established in Senegal with the objective of empowering young people.

He urged the government and their partners to accompany them in the journey of empowering youth to enable the realisation of their desired goals. “If the youth are well equipped, they can be assets for national development.”

Ebrima Drammeh, deputy permanent secretary of trade ministry said they will continue to pay attention to issues surrounding young people especially when it comes to employment.

He said developing the capacity of people is essential, as it helps in the realisation of their potentials.

Muhammed Jagana, president of GCCI said young people must be able to tackle their challenges to make a change, emphasizing the need for youth to believe in themselves and their potential. “As youth, they should expect challenges in starting up businesses and that should not deter them from starting. “To start and fail is not the end of life. Failure in your attempt to succeed should not stop you.”

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Gambia: UNESCO Engage Youths On Democratization Process

By Sariba Manneh

United Nation Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Multispectral Regional Office for West Africa, on Wednesday February 20 engaged youths from different organization on democratization process; held in a local hotel.

The UNESCO forum aims at enabling the youth to understand the form of emergent expressions of African youth for a better orientation of the public policy to ensure youth centralization in decision making process that link with their needs and aspirations.

The Theme was ‘Youth and Freedom in West African Emergent Forms of Expression, Citizen Engagement and solidarity Action for an Exclusive Democracy and Social Change Favorable to the Attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).’

Dr. Abdoukarim Camara, the head of Human Resource Department at University of The Gambia said a multidisciplinary team was formed to carry out an interdisciplinary research, on several sites with innovative methods covering among other West African countries including Senegal, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Niger and Mali.

According to him, this initiative was for better appreciation of the level of involving young people in the national democratization process, good governance, national reconciliation and the building of a culture of peace and stability as well as freedom of expression among youth.

“The study which follows the action plan and recommendation from the previous forum held in Banjul focus on youth’s freedom and their new form of expressions,” Dr. Camara stated.

He added that the social changes are favorable to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for democratization and achieving the SDGs in West Africa.

Muhamed Badjie, a student from Chiekh Anta Diop University in Dakar (CADU) said the strong involvement of young people in the process of democratization and pacification of the political space to compensate for absent in decision making process.

“Major mobilization of young people through several communication channels in several African countries and varies fields in order to stimulate processes of social transformation,” he said.

Delivering on the research problems, he said new forms of mobilization on the public scene that are poorly documented to inform public policy development and implementation process, adding understanding of these new forms of mobilization for a better orientation of public policies to ensure the centrality of youth in decision- making process in connection with their needs and aspirations.

Source The Voice

UN Environment Helping Gambian youth find greener pastures at home

A staggering number of young Gambians have lost their lives trying to escape to Europe. UN Environment is implementing the largest natural resource development project in the history of the country to make their lives better back home.

For Alagie Camora, using his dwindling savings to leave The Gambia for Europe seemed the best option after the government closed the border with Senegal in 2015, and his vegetable import business that brought in US$50 a month collapsed.

But after surviving the perilous journey across deserts to reach Libya, “the back way” to Europe, he was captured and jailed alongside many other Gambians, stripped of everything they owned, abused and denied clean water, toilets and food.

After a month of hearing the many stories of countrymen being extorted and killed in Libya, drowning in the Mediterranean or becoming beggars on the streets of Europe, a weakened Camora and 140 other Gambians flew home, vowing to start a farming business on home soil.

“We go to Senegal to get vegetables—why don’t we try in this country? We can encourage people to grow and stay here,” said Camora, who set up the Association of Returnees from the Back Way.

The Gambia is one of the world’s smallest nations, with a population of under 2 million, yet so many Gambians have left that the country ranks as one of the world’s top six nations for migration via Libya and the Mediterranean.

As a sliver of land with a river running through it to the west African coast, The Gambia is highly susceptible to climate change, and its people very vulnerable after decades of dictatorial rule by President Yaya Jammeh, who was ousted in 2016.

Increasingly frequent and severe floods and droughts have caused erosion and damaged agricultural lands, while rising temperatures, erratic rainfall and increasing deforestation and poor farming practices have dried up or washed away soils, leading to degradation and desertification.

“In many of these rural areas, the environment and natural resource conditions are one of the driving reasons for migration,” said Alagie Manjang, Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources.

The rural exodus of largely young people means that 53.5 per cent of Gambians now live around the capital Banjul, where a lack of opportunities drives many young people to set their sights further afield, said Lamin Dibba, The Gambia’s Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources.

“Most of them think that Europe is the solution, so they leave to look for greener pastures abroad,” he said.

Bubu Jallow, a meteorologist and one of The Gambia’s leading climate change negotiators, said that a 30 per cent reduction in rainfall over the past 50 years has caused people to abandon their fields.

“This influx from the rural to the urban has been happening since the 1970s, because the rains in this country really failed after 1968,” he said.

Fatou Jammeh Touray is Governor of The Gambia’s Upper River Region, where there has been a massive exodus of youth, and many losses.

“So many young people have died,” he said, recalling meeting one family that lost seven sons to boats sinking in the Mediterranean in 2016.

Touray and other politicians are keen to dispel the myths spread through social media that Europe, a short hop across the “river”, is a poor man’s paradise.

Camora’s Association of Returnees from the Back Way is looking to stop young people from leaving The Gambia and helping those who return to go back to farming by getting land in the most hard-hit provinces. The Association has already managed to secure some areas of degraded land by approaching village chiefs, and hopes that young people will be given more opportunities as the government tries to build a green economy.

Dibba wants to create 25,000 green jobs for young people in their communities to stem migration and stop The Gambia from becoming even more dependent on importing food, as villages empty of young people “and they are left with only old people who don’t have the strength to till the soil”.

He has high hopes of turning the tide against migration, rural poverty and the country’s food insecurity with a US$25.5 million large-scale Ecosystems-based Adaptation project.

“This project is the single largest natural resource development project ever launched in the history of the development of this country,” he announced at the launch of the project in January 2018 in Banjul.

The Ecosystems-based Adaptation project will build climate resilience in four regions by rehabilitating degraded farmland, savannahs and forests with native species, and developing a sustainable, natural resource-based economy managed by local communities.

“The project will rehabilitate up to 10,000 hectares of degraded forest and wildlife parks through reforestation, enrichment planting, conservation of rare or endangered species as well as the restoration of 3,000 hectares of abandoned and marginal agricultural lands,” said Dibba.

UN Environment will implement the project, largely funded by the Green Climate Fund, over the next six years with the aim of helping at least 11,500 households directly and 46,500 indirectly, of which half will be women, across four target regions.

“We all left this country to look for greener pastures and we’ve returned back to look for it here,” said Camora.

“We have to believe in ourselves and say that we are Africans, not Europeans, and people there might be further ahead than us here in The Gambia, but as youths we need to encourage Gambians so that they can stay and do well here.”

Source UN Environment