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Youth Development is an important priority to transformation of Gambia – President Adama Barrow meeting with UN Youth Envoy

6 February 2018

Banjul, February 6, 2018 — The UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake, renewed her commitment to youth empowerment with her visit to President of The Gambia, His Excellency Adama Barrow. The visit at the State House was the last of series of bilateral meetings the Youth Envoy conducted on the same day with other government officials of The Gambia, including the Her Excellency the Vice President, the Speaker and Members of the Gambian National Assembly.

President Adama Barrow commended the Envoy on her visit and was largely in agreement with her calls for a more holistic youth agenda, which was anchored on creating a legal and institutionalised mechanism for the voices of young people to filter through the policy process, so that the whatever economic or political plan within the country can be reflective of their aspirations.

The Youth Envoy informed the President that at the core of her mandate as the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Youth were issues including empowerment of young girls, inclusion of young people in peace and security processes across the world and youth empowerment. In effect, learning of the concerns of young people and taking those concerns to their government officials and policymakers to seek substantive solutions was high on the agenda of her Mission to the Gambia and other countries on her mission in Africa.

 

The President mentioned that the problem of youth unemployment was of serious concern to him, noting that “the back way”, which is otherwise referred to the dangerous and irregular migration for greener pastures to Europe, often results in human trafficking, death or deportation is an ongoing challenge his government was taking seriously. This is the reason why he has ensured Youth Empowerment is part of the Strategic Priorities in the country’s newly unveiled National Development Plan, launched at the High Level Event attended by the Envoy on Youth earlier in the day.

 

In response, the Envoy commended the government for providing such an important sense of direction and for providing such a timely intervention. Further, the envoy suggested to the President, the need to deepen and sustain such a coordinated approach to solving youth challenges in the country.

 

The President of the Republic of the Gambia launched the National Development Plan (2018 – 2021). The plan has eight (8) key strategies, with a specific commitment on making investments towards “harnessing the demographic dividend” in the Gambia.