The Gambia has recently seen a rising tide of irregular migration of youth and the EU data has shown that about 10,000 of the small country’s youths have sought asylum in the Union’s 28 member countries.
The President of Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Muhammed Jagana, said the new administration of President-elect Adama Barrow should invest in youths to start businesses.
Experts say the youth migration is fuelled by rising unemployment and youth unemployment in the country of 1.9 million inhabitants. At least 38% of the country’s youths are unemployed.
“I would like to see young Gambians get in business. It does not matter what kind of business… We lost quite a lot of young people to this Backway syndrome which is unfortunate,” he told The Torch on Tuesday when asked what he would want the new administration do after taking office.
“We hope that as the business community we will be able to create an environment with the government that will allow the young people to use technology in business,” said Mr. Jagana. “We are also hoping that with the new president we will be able to develop a scheme that would see more youths engaged in income generating activities.”
Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the voice of private businesses in the country and it has also demanded that outgoing President Yahya Jammeh steps down after his term expires on January 19.
Gambian business start-ups often complain of high-interest rates from banks and higher cost of financing. It has made business prospects for many young entrepreneurs bleak. Chamber of commerce identified that interest rates are extremely high in The Gambia and hopes that government would develop policies that would allow a lower interest rate and better access to financing.
According to Mr. Jagana, there is a need to look at ways of developing funds that would allow small and medium size businesses to tap capital rather than go directly to the banks.
The GCCI has been working on a program document in partnership with the United Nation Development Programme call the “youth entrepreneurship fund” which is aimed at helping youths start businesses.
Jagana hopes that a fund like that would be able to raise money and help talented young people have access to a start-up capital, which will help them to create jobs.
“This will eventually contribute to the taxes, social security and also get more people employed,” he said,