Young people from across all regions in The Gambia converged in their teeming mass in Banjul for an expansive six-day biannual National Youth Conference and Festival (NAYCONF), which began on Friday, 16th to Wednesday, 21st December 2022.
The most significant national youth convergence organized by the National Youth Council (NYC) provides a unique opportunity for young people to interact with top government officials, policymakers, and development partners for sustainable solutions to the myriad of challenges inhibiting their growth and development.
The last NAYCONF was held in 2017 in Basse, Upper River Region. Since then, it has not been conducted due to the restrictions on public gatherings in the wake of the global Coronavirus pandemic.
The 2022 NAYCONF is mobilized on the theme: “Role of young people in the maintenance of peace and security for socio-economic development of the country: challenges and opportunities.”
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Hon. Bakary Badjie challenged the delegates to meaningfully participate in various conference sessions and develop implementable resolutions for government and stakeholders’ consideration.
He assured the gathering of his ministry’s continued commitment to fully implementing the conference’s resolutions.
“The NAYCONF resolutions will not gather dust; this is not to say they have been gathering dust, but as the minister for Youth and Sports, I will do my utmost best to ensure that the resolutions are shared with all the relevant stakeholders,” Hon. Badjie told the delegates.
The minister also used the occasion to encourage young people to diversify and venture into vocational skills learning. Entrepreneurship for self-employment and financial independence as the Government of The Gambia, through his ministry, has recently ratified the National Youth Policy to address youth-related challenges such as unemployment and migration.