(JollofNews) – President Adama Barrow of the Gambia has used his meeting with representatives of United Nation agencies to reiterate his government’s plans to reform various sectors of the country.
Mr Barrow said in line with the planned reforms, youth empowerment will be given high priority.
He added that youths form 60 per cent of the country’s population and were at the forefront of the struggle for political change which brought his regime to power.
President Barrow extended his appreciation to the contribution of the youths in bringing about political change and asserted “without them it would not have been easy.
“They were our foot soldiers and provided protection to the political leaders,” he said.
The president called for partnership to create employment for youths, and he urged the partners to move from “commitment to action” for youths to realize their contribution in political affairs.
Mr Barrow lamented on the negative consequences of child marriage and female genital mutilation from a health point of view but noted that these are culturally sensitive issues.
He said his government will cooperate with UN bodies and come up with laws that will be sustained.
He called for the population to be encouraged to end the practices.
Marie-Pierre Poirier, UNICEF West and Central Africa regional director, reaffirmed her agency’s commitment to support the new government’s agenda.
She urged the government to invest in children and youths and provide employment creation that will strengthen social protection as well as promote youth empowerment.
She commended the Gambia for meeting the target in controlling open defecation but emphasized the need to consolidate the gains made.
Ms Poirier reiterated the importance of continuing the fight against malaria, end child marriage and female genital mutilation.
Mabingue Ngom, UNFPA regional director for West and Central Africa, said the UN is one family and their visit was to give support to the Gambia.
He recalled the importance the African Union attaches to the demographic dividend and how it can help society.
He said in partnership with NEPAD and UNFPA is committed to investing in young people, thus the need for the government to develop a road map. He requested for government to end child marriage and female genital mutilation as matter of urgency to end century old cultural practices.