By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
Youth National Budget Allocation – Post Jammeh
Since President Adama Barrow came into power the National Budget allocation for the Ministry of Youths and Sports has never reached 1% of the National Budget. As shown on Table 1 below the highest allocation for the Ministry of Youth and Sports after the exit of former President Yahya Jammeh is 0.83% in 2019. The Ministry of Youth and Sports allocation includes funding for the Ministry, Youth and Sporting Activities. Sporting activities will eat into a large chunk of this budget allocation. One positive sign is that the allocation for youth doubled from 2018 to 2019 Budget Allocation. If the budget allocation for youth will finally surpass the 1% mark more of the same needs to happen in the 2020 Budget Allocation.
Is Gambian Youth Population Above 70%?
Most Gambians are of the belief that “Youth” make up at least 70% of the population. However, this percentage actually varies based on the age bracket for youth being adopted. The African Youth Charter provides an age bracket for youths in Africa and it’s important for all African countries to adopt one age bracket for Youth which will ensure that African Governments, Youth Movements and Civil Society can make like for like comparisons when assessing youths across the continent.
It’s interesting to note that the age bracket for youth being used in The Gambia and the rest of the African Continent is not uniform. According to the African Youth Charter (AYC) a youth is anybody within the age bracket of 15 to 35 years. Using Gambian Bureau of Statistics (GBOS) and the AYC definition of Youth it can be seen that at least 34% of The Gambia’s population are Youth. On the contrary it’s widely reported that at least 70% of Gambians are youths. This is only true if the age group for Youth is expanded from 0 to 34 years. Note that 34 years has been used as the actual age brackets available are 30-34 and 35-39. The calculations with an asterix (*) are done by the author to demonstrate the differences on percentages of youth using two different age brackets.
Youth Unemployment, Rural vs Urban
On 11th January 2019, GBOS issued some statistics on Youth Unemployment which currently stands at “41.5%; 56.8% of our youth are not in employment, education and training”. The base for these figures have not been explained such as the age bracket of youths and the number of youths that are being used for these statistics. However, the statistics demonstrate that more than half of Gambian youths are unemployed.
Another important GBOS statistic worth highlighting is that “54 % of youth in the urban areas and 45.9 % in the rural areas” are not in employment, education and training. This highlights that unemployment is higher in the Urban Areas than in the Rural Areas. Rural – Urban drift could explain the reason more youths are Unemployed in the Urban Areas as more Rural Youths migrate to Urban Areas looking for jobs and making it more competitive for Urban youth to gain employment.