Youth employment in GambiaTekki Fii translates to “Make it in The Gambia.” In collaboration with The Gambian government, The Tekki Fii Project recently completed a project to boost employment opportunities for Gambian youth. Funding for the project came from the European Union’s Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, the International Trade Center, a German organization called Deutsche Gesellschaft and a Portuguese organization called Instituto Marqués de Valle Flòr. Furthermore, the project also collaborated with an agency within the Belgian government called Enable and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs in the Government of The Gambia.

Migration and the Impact on Youth Employment in The Gambia

The latest statistics available from The Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS) indicate that the youth unemployment rate increased to 41.5% in 2018. A lack of employment opportunities for young people in The Gambia has led to increases in crime as well as the rate of migration. This makes the work of initiatives such as Tekki Fii critical to improving the well-being of Gambians across the country.

While Tekki Fii aimed to provide skills training for entrepreneurship in areas such as agriculture and tourism, the overall goal was to bring future opportunities for youth employment in The Gambia and raise awareness about economic opportunities. The Instituto Marqués de Valle Flòr (IMVF) also emphasized the importance of focusing on women and children as part of the initiative. Additionally, the IMVF targeted domestic economic development programs as a means to tackle high rates of youth migration.

The IMVF also concentrated on the accessibility of skills development for returning migrants, some of whom were denied asylum in other countries. The target geographical locations were the Central River, North Bank, Lower River and Upper River regions of The Gambia.

The International Trade Center (ITC) worked with the Tekki Fii Project as part of its Youth Employment Project. Both initiatives operated from 2017 to 2022. The Youth Employment Project began in 2017 in The Gambia to work with Gambian youths and returning migrants. While it focused on long-standing industries such as agriculture, the ITC also supported newer sectors such as digital services.

Successes of the Initiative

Overall, the Tekki Fii project helped to decrease poverty and boost youth employment in The Gambia. The program created more than 9,500 employment opportunities and provided training for almost 7,500 individuals. After five years of work, the closing ceremony for the program under the ITC took place on November 18, 2022, in Banjul.

Following Tekki Fii, The Gambia will now implement the New National Employment Policy and Action Plan from 2022 to 2026. The national plan continues similar initiatives of the Tekki Fii Project such as skill development for entrepreneurship and businesses, opportunities for women and youth and the creation of 150,000 jobs by the end of the plan.

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs affirms the goals of the National Employment Policy and Action Plan with its National Development Plan. The plan proposes eight broad priorities such as the stabilization of the economy and building infrastructure. The plan also emphasizes seven more specific steps that contribute to the eight priorities including environmental sustainability and digitalization.

Youth employment in Gambia improved due to worldwide collaborators such as the European Union and the International Trade Center. More Gambian youth will continue to realize the country’s potential through the government’s new development and employment plans.

– Kaylee Messick
Photo: Flickr