By Ramatoulie Jawo
His Excellency, President Adama Barrow, on Friday, presided over the official opening ceremonies of the 13th Edition of the NAYCONF at the Never Again memorial Arch in Banjul.
The National Youth Conference and Festival (NAYCONF), is a biennial event managed and coordinated by the National Youth Council under the auspices of the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
The activities bring together over 2000 young people from all over the country and other parts of the world to interact, share experiences and dilate on major issues that affect their lives and well-being. It is also a platform for taking stock and critically assessing policies, programs, and activities that were meant to be implemented to empower young people for national development.
Speaking at the event, his Excellency president Adama Barrow, said over the years, the Government has been taking the NAYCONF resolutions with utmost importance.
He said Out of necessity, NAYCONF derives its legitimacy from the National Youth Council Act 2000 and they applaud it as a peaceful convergence that accommodates festivity and sport alongside an in-depth reflection on serious issues and productive work that attracts Government’s attention and influences policy and programme development.
“This year’s theme, ‘The Role of Young People in the Maintenance of Peace and Security for Socio-Economic Development Opportunities and Challenges, is definitely suitable, considering that The Gambia has embraced democratic values and principles for inclusive growth, development, progress, and stability. These cannot be attained in the absence of sustained peace and security,
“With certainty, there cannot be any peace anywhere without the absolute cooperation of the youth; so, I advise all young persons and citizens in the country to remain peaceful and law-abiding and defend or claim their rights in a civil and democratic manner,” President Barrow said.
President Barrow stated that The Government will continue to provide the enabling environment for Gambian youths to succeed in the country without the need to embark on dangerous journeys.
“We encouraged Gambian youths to take up the responsibility to discuss issues of education, technology and innovation, entrepreneurship, and skills. It is through these elements that the youth can be empowered enough to become more productive and better useful citizens,” Said Barrow.
The minister of youths and sports, Hon. Bakery Y. Badjie, renew the government’s commitment to creating a Gambia that is safe for every youth and a country that the youth can be proud of.
He said his Ministry, have worked closely with their satellite institutions to make sure that the youth are engaged meaningfully towards sustaining the peace of the country.
“We have adopted the National Youth Policy, a policy that is progressive and reflective of the realities on the ground. As a ministry, we have improved the affairs of the youth. with all the challenges, we have made progress in putting the senior Scorpions in the history books of African football, “he disclosed.
In his remarks to welcome the delegates, the Mayor of Banjul Rohey Malick Lowe described NAYCONF 2022 as an event for the youths and will help enhance their development significantly.