The Executive Director of the National Youth Council (NYC), Lamin Darboe has advised young Gambian entrepreneurs to make the best use of their connections, stressing that networks have become net worth.
He was speaking at the Gambia Youth Chamber of Commerce ahead of the second edition of the Youth Trade Fair on agribusiness and tourism exhibition in December. Darboe encouraged the GYCC to do more on job creation for the young people, describing the institution as one of the greatest achievements of NYC.
“You do not only create jobs but also ensure that all actors in the job creation work together.”
He said the agribusiness and tourism expo will create a platform for young entrepreneurs and their enterprises to have an opportunity to network.
“It’s a fact that while they make their profits and income, the platform is used to network and create linkages. In the modern day of business, your network becomes your net worth.”
He suggested that with these opportunities, young Gambians will stay and make their wealth at home to address unemployment and poverty.
Unemployment rate has skyrocketed from 38 to 41.5 percent in The Gambia, pushing young Gambians to explore self-employable ventures such as creative industry and agribusiness sectors.
The CEO of GYCC, Baboucarr Kebbeh told The Chronicle that the December exhibition will promote cultural businesses such as beads and weaving materials, as well as agribusiness.
“If those people [entrepreneurs] don’t have anywhere to showcase their products and services it will be difficult. Beads and weaving are part of creative industry. We have people who are making beads and these are made in The Gambia. It’s only this kind of platforms where we can get them onboard.”
“The agribusiness and tourism are so related. The hoteliers can be invited to see what they have, and even provide the network and support for them to expand their capacity to be able to supply their hotels.”
The event is targeting over 200 local businesses while plans are being executed to expand for the accommodation of international businesses in the future.
The president of GYCC Ismaila Sambou called for more participation of young people into fields such as agribusiness and creative industry using the up-coming exhibition.
“Despite the widespread recognition of how vital it is to invest in both the quality and quantity of jobs for youth, efforts remain fragile and low-scale,” he said. “Getting young people into entrepreneurship is not just essential for their future but also for the future of local communities, our country and the global society at large.”
Many Gambian youth who sailed through the perilous Mediterranean Sea to Europe to look for better future were unemployed and this remained a daunting task for the government to address.
The young people – below the age of 35 account for sixty percent of Gambia’s population.
“The Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment believes that entrepreneurship and private sector development is the way forward for this country if we are to reduce the burden of unemployment that we are currently facing,” said Abdoulie Jammeh, the Deputy Permanent Secretary II at the Ministry of Trade, Employment and Regional Integration.
With the introduction of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Jammeh said The Gambia must take advantage of the new policy to empower the private sector, including the youth folks.
The Gambia became the 22nd country to ratify the AfCFTA three months ago. According to experts, it will now have to empower its local products for standardization to be able to benefit from the deal, especially with the high influx of its young stars into entrepreneurship.