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‘Disappointing’ as Line Ministries Fail to Show up at Youth Trade Fair

The current Youth Agribusiness and Tourism Expo has been extended another three days as the Gambia Youth Chamber of Commerce expresses disappointment in the absence of senior government officials from various related ministries to show solidarity with over 100 young entrepreneurs.

The ministries named to The Chronicle include Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Fisheries; all of whom have connection with the ongoing trade fair.

Baboucarr Kebbeh, the CEO of Gambia Youth Chamber of Commerce said Wednesday that the presence of ministers at the fair could have been a source of motivation for the young participants, as well as provide government officials with a  glimpse into the realities youth employment.

“I think it’s very disappointing that we didn’t have the central government here. I didn’t see any government officials who came here to visit just to see how things are faring with the young people,” he told The Chronicle.

Fashion designer vendor at the youth trade fair

“We have not seen the Ministers of Trade, Youth, Fisheries and Agriculture. We also have not seen the national assembly members, the political parties to come and patronize or see what the startups are doing, particularly women.”

According to Kebbeh, the only leader to make an appearance was Mai Ahmad Fatty of Gambia Moral Congress (GMC), who attended the opening.

“We believe that they [government] should take this seriously and come here next time. These are some of the things we expected to see from them. At some point, we were even expecting that the President would do a surprise visit or the Vice President or members of the cabinet to come and see what the young people are doing. For me this is the only way we can encourage them.”

Kebbeh grades the government’s commitment towards youth issues as “not at par with other countries”.

“The government’s commitment is still on the paper and I think practically they need to come out and see how they can support.”

He suggested for the government to be scouting for startups in town and provide them with projects to sustain themselves while addressing larger unemployment issues.

Amie Simaha, a food processing vendor, expressed frustration for low turnout of customers to patronize them.

                               Amie Simaha

“The trade fair here has not been good, because it is like we are buying from one another. We need to have Gambians come out and patronize us. There was a lot of media coverage and advertisements on this trade fair, yet the turnout from buyers has not been impressive.”

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