By Lama S Jallow
National Enterprise Development Initiative (NEDI) with support from the Government of The Gambia through the Ministry of Youth and Sports on Tuesday disbursed about two million dalasis to support youth and women entrepreneurs at a ceremony held in Bakau.
The initiative was meant to support the youth and women entrepreneurs to have access to finance for the development of their various businesses and more employment creation in the country.
Thirty-three (33 ) youth and women entrepreneurs benefited from the disbursement, each was awarded D50,000 respectively.
Out of the 33 beneficiaries, 17 are youth and women from the NEDI -identified youth enterprise grant, 16 are Youth and women entrepreneurs, including 5 migrant returnees and 2 graduates from Gambia Songhai Initiative (GSI).
The event was presided over by Mam Lisa Camara, General Manager of NEDI.
Deputizing the Youth and Sports, Minister Hon Bakary Y. Badjie, Hon Fatou Kinteh, Minister at Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare said the Youth Revolving fund scheme is an initiative of The Gambia Government established as a component of the Youth and Sports Development Levy for access to affordable financial services, promote the growth of the youth-led enterprises and create employment opportunities for youth and women.
She disclosed that the training conducted by NEDI and financial support for entrepreneurship promotions provides a platform for youth and women entrepreneurs to explore opportunities and strengthen their entrepreneurial spirit.
She went further that the day marked another important day for youth entrepreneurship development in The Gambia, through the Ministry of Youth and Sports with the collaboration of the Ministry Of Finance and Economic Affairs Gambia (MOFEA).
The Minister reminded them that the grant is meant to support youth and women’s businesses to enable them to start and grow their businesses and become very competitive.
She added that all the strategies are part of the government’s plans to make access to finance affordable and accessible for youth and women who want to venture into business.
Sanna Bah, the chairperson of NEDI, thanked the president of the Republic of The Gambia Mr Adama Barrow through the Ministry of Youth and Sports for entrusting the board with the responsibility for providing oversight functions to the institution.
‘’I do not doubt that the youth and women entrepreneurs selected here will make the best use of the opportunity given to them ‘’ he assured.
For her part, Mrs. Juldeh Ceesay, the DPS programs and project at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs stated that the youth revolving loan scheme is in line with the strategy which supported sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction targeting the youth and women of The Gambia.
She said reducing poverty in The Gambia remains a great commitment by the Government of The Gambia accompanied by great economic performance and that with such grants youth entrepreneurs can startups their businesses for sustainable development.
Sonko Fofana, the Director General of the social development fund said SDF was identified to manage the youth revolving loan scheme fund with their experience in management he urged the beneficiaries to make the best use of the grant to apply for loans if they wish in the future.
Other speakers at the awarding ceremony included Mr. Musa Mbye DPS technical at the Ministry of Youth and Sports and Mr. Abass Bah Executive Director of NYSS, they urged the beneficiaries to ensure the money is used wisely for the development of their businesses.
The 33 beneficiaries included youth entrepreneurs from Upper River, Central River, North Bank, Lower River, West Coast Regions as well as Kanifing Municipality and Banjul City.