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Muhammad Coker Urges Gov’t To Empower Youth Entrepreneurs For Economic Growth 

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Muhammad Coker, a young Social entrepreneur 

By Landing Ceesay 

Muhammad Coker, a young Social entrepreneur while speaking at Banjul Youth Diplomacy Conference National Youth Dialogue has urged the government of the Gambia to empower youth entrepreneurs to drive economic growth.  

“In my opinion, what I believe is that the government should really contribute to support not just farmers or entrepreneurs but entrepreneurship within the ecosystem in the country by providing more funding opportunities for entrepreneurs, enabling them to gain more access to resources, invest more on storage facilities to support agricultural products and food-related industries. 

“We all know this will help to preserve and maintain the quality of perishable goods.  it will also reduce post-harvest losses and then ensure that there is food security. And this will enable farmers and entrepreneurs to store their produces for longer periods, have better access to market opportunities and potentially export their products to the international markets,” told the gathering.  

Mr. Coker, the Founder of Agro Incubation Hub, believes that the government can support the food processing industry by investing in infrastructure, such as industrial parks or specialized processing zones. He also believes that the government can create a conducive environment for processing activities by providing financial incentives, such as tax breaks and grants.

Mr. Coker further stated that the government should equally ensure that there is a constant supply of the basic necessities in the country such as electricity, so entrepreneurs could have consistent production of delivering of their goods and services thereby increasing productivity and opportunity.  

“The government should equally ensure that there are proper testing standards in the Gambia. we have the Gambia Standard Bureau,  but what is the level of standard that the Gambia’s Standard Bureau is when it comes to the different types of products we have not just food? Look at the cement as an example, do we have a standard facility that can actually accommodate the testing of cement that can be internationally recognized and exported to other countries?  

“So with proper facilities while the quality and reliability of products and services with establish testing standards in the Gambia, where businesses can actually minimize the risk of defects, vulnerabilities or other issues that could negatively impact their customer experience. The government can actually collaborate with educational institutions to ensure that entrepreneurship is contained in our curriculum. So we as young people can actually understand entrepreneurship in schools, instead of being trained after we graduated,” he said.  

Mr. Coker believes this will actually help a lot of young people to understand how it works when it comes to entrepreneurship.  

Mr. Coker said that youth entrepreneurship is a powerful force in economic growth and innovation. He argued that when the government actively supports and invests in young entrepreneurs, it creates an ecosystem where businesses can thrive, jobs can be created, and communities can flourish.

The Young Entrepreneur said Youth entrepreneurship is all about young individuals taking charge, pursuing their passions, and equally making a positive impact not just about starting up a business and making a profit.

Mr. Coker expressed delight at how young people are stepping up, especially when it comes to the ecosystem, bringing fresh ideas and also creating innovative solutions.

“In the Gambia, actually entrepreneurs are making significant contributions to the growth of the economy of the country, creating jobs, driving innovation, and also fostering economic growth. They are creating unique products and services that we are actually delighted with and also to the overall development of our nation. Out of the factors that support entrepreneurship in the Gambia, one of which is that it is a vibrant sector that we young people should really look at so we could stimulate the goal of the economy. 

“We have organizations and programs within the ecosystem, such as social enterprises that are actually supporting the development of entrepreneurship in the Gambia to business development training, business coaching,  mentorships and you name them. However, there remain huge capacity challenges, not just capacity challenges but equally general challenges that most of these entrepreneurs are facing. This actually includes the limited resources that most of these entrepreneurs lack, ” he said.  

Mr. Coker also told the gathering that among the challenges youth entrepreneurs are facing in the Gambia are fewer storage facilities and access to funding which he described as a major issue that is affecting the entrepreneurs in the country.

Mr. Coker said there is equally less infrastructure, and also, more foreigners are dominating the industry market.  

The Banjul Youth Diplomacy Conference – National Youth Dialogue is a significant event that aims to empower youth voices and foster sustainable development in The Gambia. 

The theme for this year’s event is  “Empowering Youth Voices: Shaping the Future Together,” this conference will delve into -crucial topics such as youth-led innovation, entrepreneurship,

technology, and youth participation in governance.

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