Gambia prepares to host continental summit on African youth

Gambian minister for youth and sports tells TRT World that Banjul preparing to host continental summit under African youth charter aimed at empowering youths

Photo by: TRT WORLD
Photo by: TRT WORLD

Gambian Minister for Youth and Sports Alieu K Jammeh speaks to TRT World journalist Usman Aliyu about challenges facing African youth.

Updated Apr 16, 2016

The Gambia is preparing to host the 10th Year Anniversary of the African Youth Charter, dubbed Banjul +10, including a youth summit and ministerial meeting which will take place between May 21 and May 25, the Gambian Minister of Youth and Sports Alieu K Jammeh told TRT World.

In an exclusive interview, Jammeh told TRT World about the challenges facing youths in Africa and why the Gambia is hosting the African Youth charter summit.

Q: What is African Youth Charter?

"The African Youth charter was adopted in Banjul in 2006 during the seventh ordinary session of the heads of Africa and now the 10th anniversary summit needs to go back to its place of birth. The aim is to allow member states of the AU to reveal their formats of implementation. The tool is a legal instrument that guides the process of youth empowerment and development on all areas including African youth rights and responsibilities.

"The summit is to come back to the Gambia after 10 years in order to show the good practice of the Gambia towards its own youth but of course we also have our limitations, constraints and challenges.

"The gathering would address the challenge of neglecting youths. Another focus of the gathering would also address the push factor leading to the high level of African youth migration.

"Africa is witnessing a human desertification which urgently needs to be addressed. The push and pull factors of the African migration to Europe need to be tackled, otherwise we are doomed as a continent."

Q: According to you what is the biggest challenge facing Africa?

"Africa as a continent is not able to maximise one of its biggest resources - the demographic dividend and demographic weight or the youth bulge that it has. For a long period of time that we have high number of people in one particular generation and it is unfortunate that for a long time Africa has not been able to make use of this very resource.

"Apart from the youth resource, Africa also has the natural resources and we are supposed to support the youth to utilise these natural resources. But because these human resources are not coached well to use the natural resources in abundance and benefit from them, this is the biggest challenge we are facing."

Q: How can African states create opportunities for the youth?

"Almost all of the countries in Africa are facing the same problems where you have the diamonds, the gold and the fertile land but couldn’t make use of them, so the price is what we are paying since before now which is very sad. But, the good story is that some countries began to do good things on their own. For example; in the Gambia, the first thing we have recognised [we need to do] is to create space for the young people, a space to sit around the decision making table for them to be heard so that issues and concerns they have could be put on that table.

"African youths have to also get involved in the productive sector of the economy, agriculture, entrepreneurship, skills, labour and basic intensive technologies for the development of the continent." 

Author: Usman Aliyu Uba