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EU set to expand support to Gambian youth through YEP

Attila Lajos, EU Ambassador to the Gambia

By Arfang M.S. Camara

The European Union (EU) is set to expand its support to young Gambians by enabling the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) to venture into new, well-needed activities, and extending its implementation period to November 2022, said on a release sent to Kerr Fatou.

The Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) was launched in 2017 with the aim of increasing job opportunities and income prospects for young Gambians.

This support, according to the European Union, will help more young entrepreneurs and small businesses to create and sustain jobs and income in view of the ‘post-crisis’ recovery.

In the release, the organization states its plans to support a number of young entrepreneurs in critical sectors such as transport and logistics and to address other supply chain disruptions by facilitating market linkages.

To facilitate access to finance for fast growing companies, the project will provide co-investment grants in collaboration with the Gambia Angel Investors Network (GAIN). It will also facilitate support from the Gambian diaspora.

The release states its “further support will be extended through technical and vocational training to boost the skills and employability of young Gambians while enhancing the institutional capacity of training providers. This will include support to operationalizing a new training centre in Ndemban, West Coast Region, in collaboration with Gambian skills providers.”

The release further states that “YEP will also continue to support Gambian authorities in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including through awareness raising and prevention, mitigation measures and other post-crisis recovery support.”

The EU Ambassador Attila LAJOS said: “The European Union remains strongly committed to supporting young Gambians by boosting their employment opportunities and income prospects, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact.”

Launched in early 2017, the Youth Empowerment Project, in partnership with more than 40 national implementing partners has demonstrated positive results. 1,800 jobs have been created or sustained, 2,400 youths have been supported through technical and vocational training and 2,900 youths, including 120 returnees, were supported through entrepreneurship schemes .

Similarly, over 700 small businesses have been supported to improve their competitiveness through enhanced packaging, food safety and quality, innovation and product development, increasing production capacity, and business linkages and more than 300 companies have benefitted from access to finance.

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