Many Gambian youths have died in an attempt to cross the Mediterranean into Europe, seeking better economic opportunities. Modou Cham, GDC youth mobilizer said the APRC government is to be blamed for the deaths due to their administration’s misrule and bad economic and financial policies and practices, which have caused businesses to stay away and lowered employment opportunities.
Cham said the corruption in President Yahya Jammeh’s administration has denied youth the environment needed to have those among them with small businesses to thrive.
Hundreds of Gambians are among the deaths and migrants reported that they received no help from the government, especially when they want to be repatriated. Gambian migrants say many of their friends and relations have died in the desert or at sea and some have been kidnapped, put in jail in Libya for ransom and worked under inhumane conditions.
The Gambia has one of the most repressive nations in the world. The regime in the country is accused by rights campaigners of some of the worst human rights violations amassed in political repression.
The number of Gambian asylum seekers has increased and the small country has one of the highest number of human exports illegally crossing into Europe.
“The economic situation in The Gambia is unbearable and many youths are desperate, lost hope with the system and are risking their lives in this perilous journey in search of greener pastures in Europe,” said Cham. “This is a great concern to many but those in authority have continuously failed to put any strategies and avenues to convince the youths to stay in the country.”
The Gambia’s government said it created some of the best job opportunities for youths but Trade and Employment Minister Abdou Jobe advised that youths to become self-employed to earn a living and insisted that they have allocated resources to human capital formation to enable the availability of a healthy and skilled labor force to industries, as well as enhance employability and employment of labor both in the formal and informal sectors of the economy.
“In order to create more employment opportunities for people, the government recognizes the importance to create job creators rather than job seekers,” Jobe said.
Supporters of the ruling APRC said the country has a youth service scheme, enterprise development fund and a youth council they said are helping; but Cham said the NYSS, NEDI, and NYC are not creating any viable opportunities and have been plagued by corruption and theft allegations.
At least two former officials were prosecuted but had their charges dropped including a former parliamentarian Pa Malick Ceesay and a current nominated lawmaker Sidi SK Njie. Their support for the country’s President Yahya Jammeh earned them ‘a pardon’ while cases were on in court.
Cham’s party, the GDC has promised jobs, development and economic freedom and urged youths to vote in the country’s presidential poll in December to liberate the nation of 1.9 million people from economic and political repression.