By: Kebba AF Touray
The Republic of the Gambia, through the Gambia Bureau of Statistics and partners, has validated the 2022-2023 Gambia Labour Force Survey (GLF).
The survey, commissioned by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Regional Integration and Employment, was conducted by the Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS).
The survey, which was jointly funded by the Gambia Government, ITC, ILO, and UNDP, aims to collect labour market information and other socio-economic data required for policy formulation and decision-making.
Mr Nyakasi Sanyang, the Statistician General of the Gambia Bureau of Statistics, said, “The main objective of the survey was to collect labour market information and other socio-economic data required for policy formulation and decision making.”
He stated that the survey is thus a crucial one and requires to be conducted more frequently than it is being done, adding that the Gambia’s first Labour Force Survey was conducted in 1992 and that it was a small-scale study that covered only parts of the Greater Banjul Area.
“The survey mainly collected information on labour force participation, employment, unemployment, time-related underemployment, the new labour underutilization indicators, economic activity, occupation, hours of work, informal sector and employment in the formal sector, as well as other important demographic statistics,” he said.
He added that it also collected information on education attainment and literacy, labour migration, and child labour.
“The findings of this survey will enhance monitoring and evaluation of the new National Development Plan, the AU Agenda 2063, and the Sustainable Development Goals in respect of economic growth and reduction of unemployment,” said GBoS SG.
He thanked all their partners for the provision of the requisite financial support in the execution of the said survey.
AjaraJallow, National Project Coordinator, International Labour Organization (ILO), said labour statistics are an important element in the measurement of economic growth and development, noting that they are yet to finish the data required to be provided as evidence-based decision-making as scanty or non-existence.
“Work statistics and its components including indicators, drive from them have both economic and social uses. They are used to describe and analyze the supply of labour, towards the formulation, implementation and monitoring micro and macro-economic policies and programs, and in human resource development planning,” she said.
She reaffirmed the continuous support and commitment of the ILO in improving labour statistics in the Gambia, and encouraged the Gambia Government, workers’ representatives, and employers’ representatives, to build a strategic alliance to formulate and implement a nationally owned program to support decent work in the Gambia.
Kebba Secka, Technical Adviser at the International Trade Centre, said: “ITC is a joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. We provide tailored support, aligned with national objectives, to grow trade opportunities for our client micro, small and medium-sized businesses, business support organizations, and policymakers in developing and least-developed countries.”
He underscored that they take the market-led approach to enhance employability and self-employment opportunities for youth, with a focus on vocational training, access to finance, and entrepreneurship.
“The survey is a critical step towards understanding and addressing the challenges faced by our labour force after the Covid-19 pandemic during which many people lost their jobs and many small businesses closed. Thus, the LFS shows the circumstance of people in their households, communities, and regions in relation to livelihood opportunities,” he said.
Aisata De, Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Project, said data and statistics are essential for evidence-based policymaking and budgeting, as without data and statistics, progress towards the attainment of National Development Plans in the global system, and global development goals, may be quite challenging.
“This being the case, strengthening the national statistical system has been a priority area of the current national development plan. It has also been reflected in all the national and development partner’s strategic frameworks,” she said.
The Minister of Trade and Employment, Baboucarr OusmailaJoof, said at the national level, the LFS enables the government to better understand the dynamics of the labour market, facilitating it to make informed decisions that foster job creation, improve working conditions, and the overall wellbeing of the workforce.
“This survey, like previous ones, will provide indicators, which are very important in monitoring and assessing the impact of economic growth on society, especially a population with an explosive youthful segment,” he said.
He added that the outcome of the survey will help to identify areas of the labour market where current government policies and programs can be improved for inclusive and sustainable development.
He hailed their partners namely UNDP, ITC/YEP, GIZ-PME, ILO and IOM for their valuable support to the government in conducting the said labour force survey.