7 March 2019

Sierra Leone: Youth Should Not Be in the Street Begging

Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Jacob Jusu Saffa, has noted that youth should think of ways to improve their lives rather than being in the streets begging for their living.

He made the statement during the youth entrepreneurship dialogue meeting on Tuesday, 5th March, 2019, at the Atlantic Hall, Stadium Hostels in Freetown.

The minister said government was aware of the fact that Sierra Leone has a youthful population with 75% of them below the age of 35.

"However the large proportions of youth those are unemployed, they lack viable employability skills and capital to establish enterprises. And every youth should have basic skills in different areas," he said.

Minister Saffa said youth, who have engaged in business have made efforts and found themselves in vocational institutes, with some being footballers, hair dressers, among several others.

He noted that it was time for youth to move away from the streets as the New Direction was determined and willing to empower them, thus thanking the organizers for the implementation of the local content policy.

He assured that they were ready to work hand-in-glove with the Ministry of Youth Affairs, with the view to ensuring that youth are fit for purpose.

Deputy Minister of Youth Affairs, Lusine Kallon, said the aim of the youth entrepreneurship dialogue session was to bring together young people across the country for dialogue on commercial activities.

He added that the objective of the Youth Entrepreneurship meeting was to help MOYA catalogue the different types of businesses in which the youth were engaged, and to assess the challenges facing youth entrepreneurship.

He noted that their aim was to assess the support needed for youth to take their business to the next level.

"Let me remind you that the Theme for today's dialogue session is promoting youth entrepreneurship in the New Direction. This is appropriate and timely because we want to cater for every category of youth irrespective of region, religion or political party affiliations," he said.

He said entrepreneurship and innovation were priority areas for his ministry as they offer opportunities to reduce the current youth unemployment, thus noting that the move would increase market competitiveness and ensures sustainable economic growth.

He mentioned that solving the problems of unemployment would require action, hence they were taking the lead.

He encouraged the public and private sectors to support Youth in entrepreneurship.

Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Political and Public Affairs, James B. Sesay, said they are charged with the foundational responsibility to promote youth entrepreneurship, democracy and good governance.

He said many people were engaged in other activities, forgetting about business and the impact it would create in their lives and the country.

Commissioner of National Youth Commission (NAYCOM) Ngola Katta, said the commission is the machinery for youth activities in the country, stating that they would support the New Direction because they knew it was good to meet with entrepreneurs.

He said they have partnered with the International Labour Organization(ILO) to train communities on local businesses, with the view to letting them know that they can be billionaires through their local businesses.

Deputy Managing Director of Rokel Commercial Bank, Emmanuel Borbor, confirmed the bank's support to the youth and urged them to change their attitudes for the better and not to encourage other people entice them do the wrong things, as their destiny was in their hands.

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