June 14, 2021
The Ministry of Youth Affairs with its Development Partners today 10th June,2021 converged at the Bintumani International Conference Center – Aberdeen to officially launch the Revised National Youth Policy and National Youth Dialogue.
The Theme for the Conference is “Empowered Youth Leading the Development of a New Sierra Leone.”
In his address to the august body, the Hon. Minister of Youth Affairs Mohamed Orman Bangura described the youth policy review as the most participatory and consultative process that has taken place in the country; and probably the Mano River Union Basin. “You are all here today because you are part of the hearts and souls of the collective efforts to transform the lives of Sierra Leone youth and to make our country a leader in the fourth industrial revolution” Minister Orman Bangura noted. Minister Bangura described the efforts of the government of H. E. President Bio to transform the youth sector in the country as unparalleled in the country’s history.
The Hon. Minister extended thanks to the leadership of the New Direction government; especially H. E. President Julius Maada Bio and his Vice President, Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh for their vision and steadfast commitment to promoting Human Capital Development in the country and for their unflinching support towards the positive transformation of the youth sector in the country.
Minister Bangura reminisced that the first youth policy was developed in 2003 during the era of late Presiden Ahmed Tejan Kabbah and that it was as a result of the collective efforts of several people, including the current Vice President, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh.
The Minister of Youth further spoke on the importance of the review, stating that it is mandatory to review the said youth policy after every five years to catch up with improvements in other international youth policies and maintain government’s agenda on youth empowerment and development.
The review, according to the Hon. Minister was inclusive, consultative and transparent and that it was done based on the United Nation’s model to bring the country under positive international spotlight. He thanked donor partners including UNDP, GIZ, EU, UNFPA, IOM and YMCA for their support.
The Hon. Vice President, who launched the reviewed Youth Policy and officially declared open the two days National Youth Dialogue informed participants of H. E. President Julius Maada Bio’s New Direction Government’s commitment to supporting youth empowerment. The Hon. Vice President expressed delight in the steps taken so far in terms of addressing youth empowerment in the country. He recalled how he was part of a government delegation in 2004 that visited Addis Ababa in Ethiopia where key recommendations were made to African leaders in relation to youth’s involvement in governance.
“And today, when you look around Sierra Leone, we have dynamic young ministers; ministers that are young. You talk of the Minister of Youth, to Education, to Mineral Resources. Several of our ministers are youth” the Hon. Vice President noted.
He noted that another aspect that was touched on during the said ADF4 conference in Addis Ababa was to look at the youth bulge as a slow motion driver of violence in the Africa Continent and adequately address their empowerment and employment, it would be difficult for African governments to be able to address issues and causes of youth violence on the continent. Dr. Juldeh mentioned the need to give visibility to women through the creation of the needed spaces for them to occupy.
Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh reaffirmed his government’s commitment to harnessing the potentials of youth for national development, reminding participants of President Bio’s commitment on 10th May, 2018 in the well of Parliament about the need to empower and increase the socio-economic participation of young people through their involvement in agriculture, enhance creativity and innovation, improve the entertainment and performing arts industry, review of the National Youth Service Act 2016 policy and accelerate entrepreneurships among young people. “we all know that the population of Sierra Leone is highly youthful. Young people between 15 and 35 constitute 1/3 of the total population of seven million” the Hon. Vice President informed. He went on to state that as a result; the nation has an opportunity to invest in the potential and creativity of young people to stimulate economic and social development of the country.
Rounding up his statement, the Hon. Vice President noted further that empowering young people constitutes changing their mindset and creating the enabling environment to harness their potentials and creativity.
The reviewed National Youth Policy and Youth Dialogue was launched and declared opened by the Hon. Vice President, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh.