June 10, 2020
As part of his campaign message and upon the assumption of power in 2018,it has always been the ultimate desire of President Bio to transform the youths of Sierra Leone and to make them readily available and productive for every national service. He is desirous of taping into the inner reservoir of the talents of Sierra Leonean youths and translates them into tangibles -by building institutions, creating job opportunities and putting them on firm ground of self -realization, actualization and reliance.
Some excerpts of the President’s statements on youth empowerment in the recent State Opening Address:
“Mr Speaker, Honorable Members, my government sees young people as key drivers of development. We regard Youths as “partners today and leaders of tomorrow.” Government has therefore increased the participation of young people in decision-making processes and leadership roles. To that end, my Government has established 190 Chiefdom and 16 district councils nationwide.”
“Government has developed capacity and entrepreneurial skills with a skills development project and a skills development fund component, a graduate internship programme, youth demonstration farms, youth business groups, and the setting up of a youth entrepreneurship and employment project”
The following are to the credit of the President on youth empowerment in just two years of his Presidency.
-As a believer in the competence and the promotion of youths , the President has appointed lots of young people as Ministers and Deputies, Executive Directors and Deputies, Chairmen, Comissioners etc. across the country without recourse to ethnicity, region, party affiliation etc.
The President firmly believes that once the existing generation and even the generation yet to be born have the requisite qualifications and competence, must be given prominent positions and be allowed to fully participate in national governance, not when they are almost in their retirements. And almost all the appointed young people are doing well on their respective appointments, even the youth minister is a young man from an ethnoregional background different from the President.
In making the youths invulnerable to poverty and unemployment, the President, through the Ministry of Higher and Technical Education has established Technical and Vocational institutions in Kenema, Bo, Kailahun etc. empowering the youths in different fields. They are taught different trades as to become readily employed and can even become employers themselves.As mentioned in his last State Opening Address, the President has secured funds to construct Technical Vocational Institutes in Makeni, Mattru Jong, Karene, Port Loko etc. This is more empowerment for the youths. In addressing the unemployment especially among the youths in the country and diversifying the economy through agriculture, the Ministry of Youth Affairs has established youth farms in Kono, Kenema, Masalia (Port Loko)Koinadugu, Tonkolili and plans are firmly on course to do similar in Bo, Moyamba, Bonth etc.Those farms are going to be engaged in the production and cultivation of different products, ranging from rice, cassava, potato etc. This will certainly and tremendously reduce the importation of rice and help easily achieve food security in the country.
Over 560 youths, illiterate and semi- illiterate are currently engaged in Car Wash Centers nationwide established by Youth Affairs Ministry. Those youths are currently working, taking care of their family members, paying taxes and developing their social security.
Over 3000 youths are currently benefiting from the Youth Entrepreneurship Programmes across the country being implemented by Youth Ministry. As an innovative leader, the President has clearly understood that entrepreneurship is currently catapulting lot of countries to higher orbit of economic development, in that regard, he has decided to invest in Sierra Leonean youths to be competing with Lebanese, Indians, Nigerians etc. in the importation of essential commodities in the country. The project calls for the formation of Youth Cooperatives and the training of Youth Entrepreneurs in business basics.
#- In relation to fish farming, about 1,750 youths will be employed in Seven Districts through the Youth in Fisheries Project. More than 20 youths will be employed in every location in about 70 sites within all the seven districts where the boats will be stationed. The Districts include: Bonth, Pujehun, Moyamba,Kamba, Port Loko and Western Rural and Urban.
Youths of all kinds, disables, non- disables, women etc. are also benefiting from the Social Safety Project being implemented by NACSA across the country. This is improving the livelihoods of many youths, some are even establishing businesses.
The President wants to develop Sierra Leonean youths not only for th e existing generation but for the succeeding ones as well. He wants to empower the youths to a degree that they will never be a permanent and available instruments in the hands of self-serving politicians but enlightened, responsible and productive people who can always take this country forward.
Strategic Communications Unit
Ministry of Information and Communications