By: Modou Touray
Mr Alhagie Jarju, The National Youth Council Executive Director has told participants at a job fair that youth without jobs is a recipe for radicalization and violence in society. He said the country has huge unemployed youths who are often engaged in crimes, posing security challenges for the country.
“With a youthful population, it poses both challenges and opportunities for the country. Opportunity in the sense that when the talents and potentials of these youths are fully utilized, we will reap the demographic dividend that we yearn for in the country. Yet when we have a lot of youths with unrefined skills and without jobs, such can be a recipe for radicalization and violence,” he pointed out.
Mr Jarju was delivering a statement at a job fair in Bakau which aimed at increasing access to labour market information, education and networking opportunities, as well as knowledge about companies. It further unveils available job opportunities, business advisory services, technical and vocational education institutions and career guidance services for employment creation, linking job seekers to employers, job matching, skills development and business start-ups in the country.
“We are not obvious of the numerous challenges and demands confronting Gambian youths such as the rising poverty rate at 53.4%, the high youth unemployment rate at 41% making it difficult to curb youth irregular migration. The job fair is a great initiative that will help greatly in providing a platform for job seekers and employers to interface and network,” Mr Jarju revealed.
He also stated that the National Youth Council which is the apex body of the country’s youths welcome the job fair with open arms which he stressed will be a great benefit for the teaming number of young people that continue to join the list of unemployed on an annual basis.
“To the young people, please make use of the great opportunity provided for you and ask as many questions as possible when you have opportunities today. The answers will be very useful to you tomorrow,” he said.
Mr Jarju also calls on organizers to hold such events frequently and ensure it is decentralised for the benefit of every young person in the country and said youth structures are existing in all regions for such events.
“The government of the Gambia with its development partners will continue to nurture the enabling environment to help harness the potentials of youth. Our collaborative efforts will make more impact and reach more people than when we decided to work as an individual organisation,” Mr Jarju assured.
Meanwhiles, the NYC executive director lamented the other challenges affecting youth entrepreneurs, such as the lack of access to finance for start-ups coupled with unpredictable energy supply.