Training scheme gives hope to aspiring young Gambian entrepreneurs

The Government of The Gambia has launched the National Enterprise Development Initiative (NEDI)  to help equip young entrepreneurs with essential business management skills to increase employment opportunities.

A total of  25 young women and men have successfully completed the five-day entrepreneurship training and received an official certificate of achievement.

Abass Bah, the General Manager of NEDI, hopes the training will empower young Gambians, especially women, to create their own businesses and employ other young people.

“We want to ensure that young people are provided with the required entrepreneurship opportunities,” he said.

NEDI, which is funded by the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MOYS), aims to link young women and men with key youth development partners and employment initiatives in The Gambia.

Sillah Conateh, the board chairman of NEDI, said the training scheme will  empower young men and women to create viable and decent employment opportunities. He hopes the scheme will play an important role in addressing the socio-economic challenges facing young Gambians.

In recent years, many young Gambians have been driven to undertake irregular migration to Europe in search of economic opportunities. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) over 8, 498 Gambians arrived in Europe in 2017.

The scheme is hoping to reverse this trend by empowering young Gambians to create their own businesses at home.  

Omar Jammeh, who chairs the  Regional Youth Committee for the Central River Region, called for more investment in youth related initiatives to help empower young Gambians to transform their own lives and contribute to the future of the country.

“Youth are a very important component of any meaningful development initiative that any country or society desires, because young people have the energy and ability to change anything,” said Omar.

Omar challenged young people to take advantage of  job opportunities created by the government and its partners.

Tackling youth unemployment remains a priority for the Gambian Government. The youth unemployment rate stood at 43.9% in 2017, according to the International Labour Organisation.

Omar Sey, the deputy governor, of the Central River Region, said that investing in young people is high on the government’s agenda.

He said, “Youth participation in national development cannot be overemphasised and it is very crucial. Take your training seriously and contribute to the country’s development.”

TMP – 30/01/2019

Photo caption: Graduates from the National Enterprise Development Initiative (NEDI) which equips young people with essential business skills