The president Adama Barrow has said that The Gambia and Senegal have committed themselves to peaceful co-existence and good neighbourliness, and shall enjoy the dividends of peace, security and stability throughout the world.
"Through peaceful coexistence, good governance and the creation of multiple avenues and opportunities for employment, we can similarly enhance peace and cohesion in our member countries. Besides these, our economic policies need to absorb the influx of the youth, open up new sources of income for them and harness their potential to contribute to peace and stability," President Barrow added.
He was speaking recently at the 5th Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security.
He said it is essential in the national level to refocus growth strategies on the labour-intensive sectors, and encourage the development of the informal sector through value-added production and international trade. He added that looking ahead; this is viewed as a window of hope for unskilled and low-skilled labour. "Nonetheless, further research is needed into how public investment can be more labor-intensive, and the extent to which small businesses can be supported to flourish."
He admitted that in The Gambia, the priorities of our National Development Plan 2018-2021 center on economic growth, transformation and development, with emphasis on peace-building and sustaining peace and security. In this regard, he said as civil society plays a crucial role in peace-building, institutional reforms and people-centered approaches will continue to inform our peace-building efforts.
He reiterated that to revive the economy, they have successfully adopted efficient fiscal and macroeconomic policies and strategies, saying these are encouraging local businesses to borrow and invest without any fears.
"The budget support agreements concluded with our development partners have accorded my government renewed optimism for economic growth and development. To cite an example, we have launched a joint youth empowerment project with the European Union. This project targets skills development and job creation for the youth, in addition to providing opportunities for start-ups in business. All these signify our commitment to democracy, good governance and economic growth and development as major priorities," he mentioned.
He added that The Gambian experience underscores the importance of regional and international solidarity and cooperation, with sustained preventive diplomacy as important elements in peace building and sustaining peace.
He declared that it is through partnerships and support that Gambians have realised increased stability in the country. "Therefore, while reiterating my appreciation to our partners, I call on them to steadfastly continue to render us their material and moral support. I reaffirm my confidence in our ability to achieve our collective goal of establishing and sustaining peace and security, but through more effective coordination arrangements."