Young Gambians can thrive – not only survive – at home, and the government is working with business, youth and development partners to make this a reality.
The Tekki Fii programme launched over the weekend at Independence Stadium in Bakau to help young people see the benefits of choosing to ‘make it here’ rather than seek opportunities in Europe through irregular migration.
‘Tekki Fii’ – which means ‘Make It Here’ in Wolof – is a movement by Gambians, for Gambians, to equip youth with job-ready skills and entrepreneurship opportunities in a variety of sectors, ranging from the arts and agribusiness to tech and tourism and more. The goal is to empower young people to earn higher, stable incomes and create quality jobs for others.
The launch coincided with the 13th edition of the Trade Fair Gambia International, taking on the theme of regional business networking and youth empowerment through skills training. Four hundred entrepreneurs – including 45 supported through the International Trade Centre’s Youth Empowerment Project – showcased their products and services in a variety of sectors, including food, agribusiness, beauty and wellness, fashion and crafts.
Vice President Dr. Isatou Touray delivered the keynote address at the launch event: ‘Youth development continues to drive our agenda, including through our National Development Plan, and we are making sure that everybody can realize his or her full potential. We’ll do this by prioritizing two areas: training youth to gain market-ready skills, and supporting companies to become more competitive.’
Young entrepreneur and farmer Hatta Boye: ‘Let us make use of this opportunity. Let us make it right here in The Gambia. Here we have the biggest opportunity – we have agribusiness. We grow what we eat and eat what we grow.’
European Union Ambassador to The Gambia, Honourable Attila Lajos: ‘Both the Government through its National Development Plan and the European Union – as a firm partner of the country – recognize youth empowerment and employment as strategic priorities. The Government is committed to leaving no youth behind. Let wisdom guide our actions, in recognizing youth as engines of growth and as an essential pillar for development on our path towards the common good of The Gambia.’
The launch of this three-year Tekki Fii programme, funded by the European Union, follows a weeklong roadshow that visited all five regions of the country. The roadshow stopped to host intergenerational talks, skills orientation sessions on entrepreneurship, solar installation, construction, creative industries, agribusiness and more.
To show young people all over the country – including in rural areas – that it’s worth making a living in The Gambia, the focus was on equipping them with the technical and soft skills needed to obtain quality jobs or to start their own businesses. Skills building is a priority of this programme.