Meet Young Gambian Pan-Africanist, Ousman Touray, Breaking Barriers & Putting The Gambia on the Global Map

Ousman Touray

A multiple award-winning young and passionate pan-Africanist, an illustrious and compelling speaker, Hailing from The Gambia, Ousman Touray has a deep connection to his homeland and a strong desire to drive positive change across the African continent. His unwavering dedication lies in fostering Afro-centric development narratives, urging Africans to unite, take ownership, and reclaim their rightful place in shaping the African development narrative.

“My life story inspires my interest in enabling young people to lead change in their communities. I grew up in the rural area of The Gambia. The village was far off the power grid. We studied under grass-thatched structures, and when it rained, we never went to school. In the village, several N.G.O.s brought initiatives to support poverty alleviation. But often, the boreholes barely functioned a month after their construction. Mosquito nets donated were rather used as nets by the locals. Worse still, the women had been reduced to gendered roles. Some were genitally mutilated while teenage mothers languished in misery and rejection,” Ousman told Alkamba Times, recalling his days growing up in rural Gambia.

“These experiences triggered my focus on developing youth-led solutions to Africa’s grand challenges and further propelled me to pursue an undergraduate degree in Development Studies. Today, I have been privileged to represent young people in different high-level spaces, advocating for reviewing existing systems to enable young Africans to have access to basic needs to learn, earn and thrive,” he said.

Ousman Touray is also the Founder of the Young Ancestors Foundation.

“At the start of 2022, I launched the Youth Spotlight, a youth-led program to equip 1 million young Africans with entrepreneurial skills and mindsets by 2035. Africa currently hosts a population of 1.4 billion people with an average age of 19. The World Economic Forum reveals that the continent will have a workforce larger than China or India by 2035. However, the economic and political systems are not designed to accommodate these unprecedented demographic changes effectively. To address this gap, I seek to develop the Youth Spotlight into a youth policy and research lab that equips young Africans with the capacity to identify existing challenges and incubate solutions and policy alternatives to solve the challenges sustainably. Through the Youth Spotlight, in partnership with UNDP Gambia, we interacted with over 340 young people through project design workshops to build their capacity to inform community development projects.”

Touray has also been an Ambassador of the University of The Gambia (UTG) and an S.D.G. Champion, having co-founded the Center for Sustainable Development and Policy Studies, the first Think Tank developed at the University of The Gambia.

” Through this initiative, I have worked with the University of The Gambia public relations office under the directorate in championing the S.D.G.s Challenge, TheS.D.G.s Lecture Series, The Youth Engagement and the UTG Graduate Scheme, which allows over 100 university students funded by the UNDP Gambia to secure paid internship from all the regions of the country. I have also supported the National Youth Service Scheme in bringing new partners like UNDP Gambia and other cabinet ministries to support the 2023 intake. Over the last three years, I have been an active pan-Africanist, featured in the media, and garnered over 20 million views in total streams,” He said.

Touray with world-renowned Pan Africanist and Lawyer PLO Lumumba and other Pan Africanists

The young pan-Africanist attended and addressed major Conferences, including serving as a keynote speaker of The Gambia 2023 Independent’s Day Celebration organized by the state house, The Gambia.

He was also a Panelist on the Big Conversation in the Africa Private Sector Summit 2021 and the YouthConneckt Africa, Kigali, Rwanda, October 2022, a Guest Speaker on the Launch of Generation Unlimited Sahel: (A leap for Saher Youth) UNDP, UNISS, UNICEF–1st November 2021 and a Youth Representatives on the Global Launch of Regeneration Sahel by UNISS and UNDP: Implementing the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel–held on the 9th December 2021 among others.

Over the past few years, Touray also won several awards, the most prominent being the Young Pan Africanist of the Year 2021 by Africa Illustrious Award and Eminent Youth Personality of the Year 2022 by the Young Writers Association.

Ousman Touray is a Program Associate at G.K. Partner’s MSDG Project, The Gambia.


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