Mohamed Orman Bangura, Sierra Leone’s Minister for Youth Affairs has appealed for robust Commonwealth support for youth entrepreneurship.

The minister, who was speaking at the 10th Commonwealth Young Ministers Meeting (10CYMM) held at Marlborough House in London, urged fellow members of this August gathering to place greater trust in the entrepreneurial potential of young people, emphasizing that “with trust and responsibility, youths consistently exceed expectations”.

In his substantial contributions to the discussion on “Exploring Opportunities in Youth Entrepreneurship and Employment,” Minister Bangura underscored the importance of the Commonwealth community of nations to make available alternative funding avenues to young individuals and empower them to create  employment opportunities, both for themselves and for their communities.

The minister pointed out that, presently, many young entrepreneurs in developing nations are left with no choice but to navigate the business world alone or rely on conventional funding sources, such as banks, which provide limited opportunities for youths. He lamented that in many developing countries, college graduates struggle to meet the collateral requirements demanded by banks for significant funding needs. The Youth Minister emphasized the necessity for policy makers and financial institutions to place greater faith in the capabilities of young people.

Minister Bangura cited Sierra Leone as an inspiring example, where President Julius Maada Bio has provided young people with unprecedented opportunities, at the top levels of decision-making, to demonstrate their potentials. President Bio’s cabinet boasts the highest percentage of youths and the largest number of women in Sierra Leone’s history. Additionally, a mandatory 30% quota for women has been instituted for all elective and appointed positions.

To underscore President Bio’s trust in the youth, Minister Bangura mentioned that he himself was appointed Minister of Youth Affairs at the age of 32, and the present Chief Minister, in his mid-thirties, holds supervisory responsibility over all other ministries.

Under the theme “AIMING HIGHER: DELIVERING MORE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE COMMONWEALTH,” the 10CYMM has brought together key stakeholders from across the Commonwealth, including Youth Ministers, Youth Representatives, and Youth Workers, to deliberate on policies and address broader social and sustainable development goals, from a youth perspective.

The five-day 10CYMM  has been closely examining four key areas: Education, Employment, Environment, and Engagement. Also included in the deliberations are cross-cutting themes such as Human Rights, Transformative Technology, and Disability.

Earlier today (14/09/2023) Minister Bangura was among the dignitaries invited to have breakfast with The Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland KC, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, and he later joined a select group at the 50th Anniversary Commonwealth Youth Programme and Awards  Ceremony, held in Saint James’ Palace.

The 10CYMM is set to conclude tomorrow 15th September 2023, with a Commonwealth Expo and Networking event, providing valuable opportunities for building connections between accredited Youth organizations and relevant stakeholders, with the aim to foster closer collaboration in the future. This year’s event will culminate with visits to pre-selected sites showcasing innovative Youth initiatives in London.

Credit: Information Attaché