analysisBy Madiba Singhateh And Mamour M. Mbenga
In this Edition of Future Generation, focus is being given to those young people who are struggling with economic activities that would earn them income for their survival.
Abdoukarim Darboe is a young man who lives in Tallinding Kunjang and sells prepaid 'Nopal' cards of GSM companies like Gamcel, Q-Cell, Africell and Comium for mobile phones. He said he finished his high school education after attending Nyakoi Nursery, Tallinding Primary School, Latrikunda Sabiji Upper Basic and Gambia High School.
Mr. Darboe said he also acquired a Certificate on Commercial Management and Business Studies at the Management Development Institute (MDI). He said the reason why he pursued studies in business management is because he wanted to follow the footsteps of his late father who, he said, was a businessman.
On how he is faring with the business, he responded that he is just managing with the little he is realizing from the business. He however added that nowadays sales are not much because of the economic situation of his customers. He however expressed optimism that it will pick up again.
When asked whether young people who are unemployed could be encouraged to emulate people like him, he said what he is doing is just managing with something that can bring him even a little income. He said what the young people need most is training to acquire skills that can earn them reasonable income which they can rely on to support themselves and even start up families.
Mr. Darboe said the young people are not lazy but need opportunities to engage themselves in meaningful activities. He said they prove themselves when they go to Europe where the majority of them realize success in their lives. "I don't think young people are lazy. They are trying very well. If you are in your country it is hard for one to do certain kinds of menial jobs. Look at those in Europe who are supporting their families back at home through the remittances."
He argued that a lot of young people have skills and only want government to help them create the environment that would enable them to become productive through the provision of micro funds and soft taxes for those operating businesses", he said.
He contends that the Gambian youth are not being encouraged in terms of developing economic ventures.
Mr. Darboe concluded by thanking his uncles who, he said, were the only ones who had supported him to realise whatever little achievement he has now since his father died when he was just five years old.
Mustapha Jatta, a young entrepreneur who sells used clothes or 'Fogajai'. He explained that he started the business after he was deported from Libya.
He said life in Libya is far more advance and much easier than in The Gambia in terms of the living conditions and employment opportunities.
On how the sales are going, he said it is a bit fine but not as it used to be at the initial stages. He said many people now lack the purchasing power. He said he is only managing in order to make ends meet.
Jatta said the government needs to redouble its efforts to help young people of this country because they are trying very hard to give meaning to their lives. "Look at this market, most of the sellers you see here are young people. So the young people are really trying, they just need help", he said.
Commenting on the views of some that the young people are lazy, his respond was that the holders of this view are just not fair with them given the lack of support and opportunities.
Kartel, is a 26 year old young man living in Serrekunda London Corner. He said he graduated from senior secondary school product and has also completed his studies at the tertiary level and obtained good results.
He said "As you have invited me for an interview, I will share my plight with your readers, including the policy makers in government. Now, just look at my situation. Since the time I finished my education at the tertiary level, I have applied for a series of jobs from one office to the especially government departments, but the only thing they would do is to promise to call back when they are ready. I have been waiting for fives without receiving any phone call asking me to go even for an interview. I have all the qualifications that are often asked but have not been among the lucky ones that secure the jobs", said Kartel.
He said he is now totally discouraged and have given up all hopes of securing a job. "All that I do now is to sit at the "Kampe vous" and drinking "attaya" and discussing football all day and well into the wee hours of the morning", concluded Kampe.