YouthConnekt launched in The Gambia to tackle youth unemployment

The Gambian chapter of YouthConnekt, an African youth initiative aimed at improving the employability of young people, was launched on 5 October 2018.

The initiative, which began in Rwanda in 2012 with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), was created with the insight that Africa had a rapidly growing youth population that face a host of challenges including technical skills and employability. The Gambia is the ninth country to launch the initiative, along with Rwanda, Liberia, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Zambia and Cape Verde.  

In the Gambia, the project was kicked off by the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MYS) and National Youth Council (NYC), in partnership with UNDP.

YouthConnekt in The Gambia will first focus on skills development, entrepreneurship and access to jobs and finance for young people.  

Presiding over the launch, the Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources, Lamin B. Dibba, praised the regional initiative for its innovative design. He said the project will be crucial in supporting young people with relevant skills and providing national and regional networking opportunities, with the aim of creating and securing jobs and increased economic growth.

“The Gambia government’s commitment to this initiative will also focus on encouraging youth entrepreneurship within a conducive environment in emerging industries, particularly in ICT, tourism, creative industry, and agricultural value chain among others,” he said.

UNDP representative Nessie Golakai-Govld applauded that event, “Launching this initiative is a clear demonstration of the government’s unflinching commitment and determination towards youth empowerment in The Gambia,” she said.

The launch preceded the second annual YouthConnekt summit, held in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, on 8-10 October 2018. The three-day summit brought together 2,500 delegates from 90 countries, including representatives from Ministries of Youth across Africa, multilateral organisations, social enterprises, investors, young innovators, professionals and entrepreneurs. The 2018 summit was held under the theme ‘Connekting youth for continental transformation’.

“About 70% of Africa’s population is under the age of 30. With Africa’s population projected to double by 2050, we are the youngest continent. Therefore, any plan for improving the future of Africa, must factor in the role of young people,” said Rwandan Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente at the opening ceremony.

“My call to all African youth, especially you who are gathered here today, is to rise to the challenge, and take ownership of the journey. Use your skills, networks and resources to build the Africa We Want. Use this summit to double connections with your peers, and learn about what they are doing. Use all your platforms to engage more policy makers in your respective countries.”

TMP – 24/10/2018

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Photo caption: A cross section of dignitaries attending the official launch of Youth Connekt