EU, ITC launch job, entrepreneurship initiative for youth in Gambia

The European Union (EU), the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Government of the Gambia recently launched a new initiative to support job creation and entrepreneurship for Gambian youth.

The four-year Gambia Youth Empowerment Project will benefit from €11 million from the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa and will strengthen the long-term competitiveness and viability of the West African country’s economy.

“This 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,” said EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica.

“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,” he said.

Gambia’s Minister for Trade, Regional Integration and Employment, Isatou Touray, said: “The new Gambia dedicates itself to the battle against unemployment and creates the enabling environment for youths to unleash their potentials and together we shall succeed.”

By fostering economic opportunities, the Gambia Youth Empowerment Project will help stem the flow of young people leaving the country using the ‘back-way’ in search of jobs abroad.

Irregular migration has claimed many Gambian lives and stifled the socioeconomic development of the country.

Taking a market-driven approach, the youth project will focus on building specific skills among youth in a number of traditional sectors such as agriculture and tourism.