By: Ndey Sowe
The Government of the Gambia, the European Union (EU), the International Trade Center (ITC) and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), officially launched the Jobs, Skills, and Finance programme (JSF), for youth and women at a local Hotel on Tuesday October 9th, 2018.
The JSF programme which is funded by the EU, aims to contribute to stabilizing the economic, social and security situation of the country during the democratic transition, by facilitating social inclusion and employment of the youth and women, with specific emphasis on promoting gender equality and also to address issues of climate change. JSF programme can be described as exciting news for the Gambia, as it will potentially translate into increased access to affordable and accessible services offered, new job opportunities, and access to training which have the potential to open more economic opportunities especially for youth and women.
Shortly after the opening, there was a press conference during which they stated that, the programme will be implemented by UNCDF, in partnership with ITC under the tutelage of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs of the Gambia.
The programme is said to have a budget of 16, ooo, ooo EUR, and aims to create 9,000 direct jobs for youth and women; that through a combination of grants, technical assistance and convening power, the programme aims to:
- increase employment of youth and the most vulnerable, with emphasis on a green and climate resilient economy;
- improve opportunities in education and skills development for women, youth and MSMEs and
- increase access to inclusive finance.
By strengthening how finance works for poor people at the household, small, enterprise, and local infrastructural levels, UNCDF contributes to SDG 1 on eradicating poverty and SDG 17, on the means of implementation. By identifying those market segments where innovation finance models can have transformational impact in helping to reach the last mile and address exclusion and inequalities of access, UNCDF contributes to a number of different SDGs.
Raimund Moser, programme development adviser and project manager, International Trade Center, and Maria Perdomo, youth finance programmer manager, UNCDF, dwelled on the significance of the programme, and said they will support and help Schools, youth and women, and construct feeder roads, to name just a few; that this will be their priority and will bring job opportunities for young people including women, in the Gambia.