About one hundred and twenty-five young people drawn from the four corners of The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Senegal, and Azerbaijan among others on Friday January 4th, began the conference aspect of the ongoing National Youth Conference and Festival (NAYCONF) currently underway in Bansang, Central River Region.
The five-day conference taking place at the School of Enrolment Nurse (SEN) in Bansang, is aimed at promoting youth participation in the productive sector for employment creation and endear them to their cultural roots in order for them to realise their dreams and aspirations.
The theme for the conference is 'Youth entrepreneurship and self-employment, a key towards economic growth'.
Declaring the conference open, Hon. Abdoulie Bojang, the speaker of the National Assembly, said (NAYCONF) is a biennial event meant to bring young people from all over the country and beyond to share their experiences and dilate on issues that affect their lives. He said this will enhance the participation of youths in national development efforts through harnessing their potentials. He posited that the organisation of this important event is a policy directive as it is stipulated in the National Youth Policy and Act that established the National Youth Council of The Gambia.
Speaker Bojong averred that the gathering has come at the most opportune time, as in the recent past there have been numerous incidences of non-Gambians dominating many sectors of our society.He said that this has directly impacted on the lives of the youth as it denies them the essential opportunity for employment and also to contribute meaningfully to the economic development of their nation.
For his part, Alieu K Jammeh, the minister of Youth and Sports, said NAYCONF, as it has come to be known, is by far the most significant gift and event to the youth and by extension, to the people of this country. He called on the youth to embrace entrepreneurship, which in itself is a sine-qua for any meaningful development. He said some young people lose hope and just want to escape the overwhelming pressures, expectations and uncertainties their young minds are ill equipped to manage.
According to him, this year's event intends to provide an opportunity and platform where young people will recognise the need for them to be fully engaging themselves in entrepreneurship and self-employment. He also urged the young people to protect the image of the country.
Fabakary Kalleh, the chairman of the National Youth Council, who is also the chairman of the National Organising Committee of the NAYCONF, highlighted on the importance of the theme of the conference, saying it is key to economic growth. He said the conference will avail the youth the opportunity to come up with tangible programmes and activities towards national development.
The occasion was chaired by Bakary Badjie, chairperson of the Conference Sub-Committee.