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The President of the Gambia, His Excellency Adama Barrow has reiterated his commitment to generate decent employment for the people of Gambia especially the youths and women as part his aspiration for inclusiveness in building peaceful and strong communities.

He said that the Gambia cannot afford to leave its women and youths behind, making it important that all collaborative efforts include and involve women equally to achieve sustainable peace and development.

His Excellency Adama Barrow made this statement at the opening ceremony of a collaborative leadership retreat organized for cabinet ministers in the Gambia on Friday, 5th May 2017.

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The workshop was a first in a series of capacity-building and experience sharing platforms that the UN has committed to in order support the Gambian government.

The President in his speech said that the general standard of living within the Gambia can improve through the advancement of infrastructure and the generation of employment and that his government is committed to encouraging and creating spaces for collaboration, dialogue and constructive feedback from the people of the Gambia.

He added that although the economy had suffered painfully in the past, the power of reconciliation and forgiveness has paved a way to unify the country to move speedily with their bilateral and multilateral partners to bring about socio-economic development for the people.

According to him, the workshop provided a unique opportunity for cabinet ministers to interact, share experience and deliberate on the draft National Development Plan 2017- 2020 which will essentially guide their choice of priorities to move the nation forward.

“We should be forward-looking in our thinking and direction as we fight to reduce poverty, which currently stands at almost 50%”, he said.

The President in his speech added that the responsibility of managing  the economy rests on the shoulders of the ministers, adding that the challenges facing the economy presently can properly be dealt with, as those challenges provide the government with the chance to redesign the systems and structures within the economy to ensure higher democratic and economic growth.

He urged his ministers to take on the culture of accountability and collaboration and ensure that they lead lives of the highest integrity to be examples to the public.