By Kebba Jeffang
The Gambia government through the financial support from European Union (EU) and the International Trade Center (ITC) launched the Youth Employment Project (YEP) worth 11 million Euros at a ceremony held at Kairaba Beach Hotel on Thursday, February 09.
The aid according to the EU official is derived from the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa to address the root causes of instability and irregular migration.
Speaking at the ceremony, Dr. Isatou Touray, Minister of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment (MOTIE) said:
“It is the first time in the history of the Gambia to democratically transfer power from one government to the other and also at a time when a crusade against irregular migration has intensified,” she said.
The minister assured that the new Gambia is ready to forge a new relationship with all the development partners.
“We are aware that one of the challenges we inherited is a problem of illegal migration due to poor economic management which has constrained the opportunities to create employment for the youths to stem the current migration trend,” she said.
She noted that it is crucial to step up job creation and create more meaningful income opportunities at home. She said the assistance given will increase the opportunities for youth and for the future growth of the Gambian economy and inclusiveness of the society.
“Our efforts to return the country to the path of growth must focus on areas or sectors that will create new jobs if the growth would mean anything to the people of this country,”
Dr Touray expressed the hope that with the expert of the ITC, the Gambia will be able to turn around the issue of irregular migration by creating more jobs for the youths here at home.
European Union Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica said the initiative funded under the European Emergency Trust Fund for addressing root causes of instability and irregular migration in Africa will also give the opportunity to restore hope for members of the Diaspora and Gambians who migrated abroad.
“In the past years, so many young Gambians have fled their country. Today, The Gambia needs all of its sons and daughters to rebuild the country. And you need them in the Gambia, not abroad. Pilot initiatives will be targeting the Diaspora more specifically by addressing their needs and promoting inclusive entrepreneurship schemes along various value chains with high potential for exports,” said Mimica.