By Landing Ceesay
Hon. Ousman A Bah, Minister for Communication and Digital Economy on behalf of President Adama Barrows said The Gambia government practices youth empowerment.
“For many, Youth Empowerment is a mantra on paper, and this has become a cliché, but for my government, Youth Empowerment is not only mere rhetoric on paper but in practice. My government is aware of the realities on the ground, and the need to create more job opportunities for the youth. We are also not oblivious to the fact that the youth are the backbone of any nation. This is the more reason the government is working tirelessly in making sure that the youths gain meaningful employment in this country,” he said in a statement on behalf of Barrow at the opening of Youth Connekt Gambia 2nd edition on Friday.
Hon. Ousman A. Bah, added that the Youth Connekt initiative is good that Barrow’s government has embraced, through the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and that the government is doing all it can to achieve the “herculean task.”
He said since 2018, when President Barrow had his first interaction with the youth during the Youth Connekt, many thoughts have run through his mind, and had concluded that the Youth of the Gambia are on track.
The Minister for Communication and Digital Economy said the establishment of the University of Science and Technology by Barrow government is an indication that they are not joking with skills.
“In the future, this University will produce experts in the fields of engineering who will be responsible for our affairs. We will need not to heavily depend on foreign expertise in terms of construction and technology because we will have home grown intellectuals in these various fields thereby bridging the gap of unemployment. Through the Ministry of Higher Education Research Science and Technology we are rolling out TVET centres in all regions, this is to make sure that all youth interested in the acquisition of skills are catered for. This is in fact in line with the youth connect Africa goals,” he added.
Minister Bah further stated that the National Development Plan seeks to address the affairs of the youth in the country, and said the Ministry of Youth and Sports is doing a lot in the areas of sports, which include the construction of mini stadia across the country.
He said that the Gambian leader has established the National Youth Development Fund, with government contribution and support from partners as stated in the NDP to complement the existing financing mechanism for youth entrepreneurs.
The statement noted that Covid-19 has changed the way the world operates, and has thrown the world into chaos, and many youths have suffered because of the pandemic; and added that Barrow government with partners are working on a recovery plan, while assuring that the government is doing all it can to recover from this pandemic.
It said the Government wishes to see a youth who is well equipped with the relevant leadership skills to run the country; saying an industrious youth is an asset to the country, and the government would do all it takes to encourage youth to take up leadership roles.
“The theme of this year’s summit is: Accelerating Investment in Youth, Resilient Youth, and Resilient Gambia. This theme says it all. For the Gambia to succeed, we need a resilient youth to move it to the Promised Land. With more than 200 delegates in this hall, I am with the belief that the youth are ready to take the initiative of youth to connekt to the next level.
“My government has an open-door policy and we will be ready to work with you for the interest of the nation. Gone are the days when youth will be grumbling under their beds. Today the Gambian youth can express outrage without facing any consequences. This is done to make sure that we have an environment that is transparent and responsive to the needs and aspirations of the youth,” Minister Ousman A. Bah concluded.
Youth Connekt Gambia summit that began on (Friday) 16th would run until 19th September 2022.
Mr Bah was appointed Minister of Communications and Digital Economy of The Gambia 24th June 2022, following the formation of the new ministry.
Prior to his appointment, Bah was the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Indian Institute of Hardware Technology (IIHT) Gambia.