“Build a Future, Make it in Gambia” – new project to help tackle root causes of migration

Banjul, Gambia – The European Union (EU) office in Gambia has announced that a new project is expected to be launched soon, aimed at addressing the root causes of migration from Gambia. The announcement was made during a breakfast meeting with members of the media, which was organised by the EU’s Banjul office in order to raise awareness about its projects across Gambia.

“The Gambia has received lots of support from the EU in forms of projects towards addressing illegal migration, and we are going to launch a second package in efforts to addressing root causes of migration by a theme: build a future, make it in Gambia,” Attila Lajos, the EU Ambassador to Gambia, told journalist at the meeting.

“Build a Future, Make it in Gambia,” is a 20 million euro project that is funded by the EU Africa Trust Fund. As part of this project, the EU and the its partner programme, the Youth Empowerment Project, has embarked on a series of initiatives aimed at empowering young people to stay in Gambia and venture into entrepreneurship. These initiatives include the Youth Agribusiness and Tourism Expo Conference, which was launched recently.

Gambia has one of the highest rates of irregular migration towards Europe of any country in sub-saharan Africa. The ambassador used the opportunity to stress that migrants who are not in the EU legally should be returned to Gambia.

“One of the basic principles in EU countries is the respect for rule of law. Those migrants in a position whereby they exhaust all the legal ways of obtaining asylum to remain in the country, those are migrants to be returned,” Lajos said during the breakfast meeting.

“We are in negotiation with the government on how to tackle this because we also want to make sure that there is no huge number of migrants returned to the Gambia when the Gambian circumstances are not ready to absorb and reintegrate them,” Lajos added.

Lajos was quick to add that the EU would continue to support the new Gambian government in efforts to reintegrate returned migrants into their communies, as well as efforts to help them become self-reliant.

The EU is currently assisting the reintegration of more than 3,400 young people who have been returned to Gambia from Libya and elsewhere in Africa. Through the International Trade Centre, the EU is also supporting the Youth Empowerment Project, which has been making headway in job creation and youth engagement.

TMP – 15/08/2018

Photo source: Twitter/@yepgambia. Photo caption: EU Ambassador Lajos talking to journalists during the press breakfast