Group Photo of the Participants and Stakeholders at the Youth Connekt Summit
By Ramatoulie Jawo
The National Youth Council of the Gambia, with support from partners, is hosting the 3rd edition of the Youth Connekt Gambia Summit from October 23–25, 2023, at a local hotel in Senegambia. The theme of the summit is “Moment for the Youth: Action for More Socio-Economic Development.”
Over the next two days, over three hundred young people from across the country, along with stakeholders and government ministries, will discuss ways to achieve Youth Connekt Gambia’s goals, which are aligned with the continent’s Youth Connekt goals.
The summit aims to promote policy dialogue, program harmonization, and partnerships to inspire and support Youth Connekt activities in The Gambia.
In his welcoming remarks, Alhagie Jarju, the Executive Director of the National Youth Council, announced that this year’s summit will feature a ministerial session with five ministers to discuss the opportunities they have for the country’s young people.
Mr. Jarju further highlighted some of the significant contributions made by the government to make this year’s summit a success, disclosing that it has contributed a significant amount—more than 30% of the event’s budget this year.
“During the last NAYCONF in Banjul, we had the government contributing 80% of the funding. I think this shows the amount of interest the government has in what the young people are doing in this country,” he stated.
On behalf of the Vice President of The Gambia, Muhammed B.S. Jallow, Minister of Public Service Baboucarr Bouy emphasized the importance of the summit. He noted his government’s commitment to overcoming the challenges facing young people and was eager to collaborate with them to find solutions.
“The Youth Connekt program ensures youth participation in policy creation while also urging other stakeholders to address other youth problems in the context of a broader framework that encompasses regional, national, and global responses,” he says.
“The Gambia government recognizes the challenges you face, from unemployment to access to decent education, from environmental issues to political involvement, and we are devoted to collaborating with you to address these issues and make your aspirations a reality,” he promises.
As one of the first six African countries to launch Youth Connekt programs in October 2018, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Hon. Bakary Y. Badjie, outlined some of the achievements of Youth Connekt Gambia since its inception.
“The chapter has invested in and supported 12 young entrepreneurs who have pitched their innovative businesses that address specific social problems with a total cash price amounting to eight hundred and fifty thousand dalasis.”
“I am happy to announce that this year’s summit will make an even bigger price with a total of one million and seventy-five thousand dalasis, which will be distributed among 15 young entrepreneurs as winners,” Minister Badjie assures.
The UN Resident Coordinator to the Gambia, Seraphine Wakana, urged the government officials and stakeholders at the summit to listen, engage, and cooperate with the young people to incorporate the recommendations of the summit into national strategy.