Minister of Youth Affairs, Bai Mamoud Bangura, said last week that issues of youth in Sierra Leone require collaboration by all sectors in government.
The minister was making a statement at the official launch of the National Youth Development Week at Sierra Leone Bank Complex, Kingtom. The week was themed ‘Campaign against Violence, promoting discipline amongst youth for national building.’
He stated that the Youth Ministry had been working towards promoting active youth intervention in every part of the country, emphasing change of behaviour of youths around the country as symbolic of their readiness for development in Sierra Leone.
According to the Youth Minister, the Government wants to pay special attention to the needs, activities and development of young people in the county, adding that the ‘Agenda for Prosperity’ indentifies the promotion of enhanced employability and empowerment opportunities for youths as one of the main development challenges the country is facing.
Bangura also stated that employment and empowerment of the youth were the keys to turning youth from being potentially negative into a constructive positive asset for the country.
He continued that the focus of government was to promote youth employability and empowerment as a key strategy to enhance social cohesion, adding that such requires a comprehensive national youth mobilisation strategy that would energise young people throughout Sierra Leone.
“Campaign against Violence, Promoting Discipline amongst Youth for Nation building’ was chosen to highlight President Koroma’s recent pronouncement on the continuing spate of youth violence, which often emanates from young people’s desire to socialise either through sports, music and/or other social gathering,” he said.
He revealed that violence and indiscipline of any form are not in the interest of young people as they could undermine government strides in promoting youth development. “Young people normally at the centre of conflict and instability can also constitute the core agents of peace building, security and development. The empowerment of the youth through their participation in national decision making and the creation of opportunities for their productive engagement are considered one of the key strategies for sustenance of peace and stability in Sierra Leone,” he said.
He said his ministry would continue to translate the President’s vision for youth development into concrete programmes and activities, with the support of technocrats in the ministry and Youth Commission, as well as development partners and stakeholders in the sector, adding that it requires partnership and cooperation by all, including colleague ministers and professionals in all ministries, departments and agencies.
The Minister further revealed that he intends to accelerate youth interventions and promote active youth participation in the socio-economic development of the country, through relevant training and quality education.
He paid gratitude to development partners and stakeholders in youth development for the support they have been rendering to his minister, and appealed to them to welcome the new partnership that moves from transient to more sustainable support for youth development programmes in the country.