Over the last two years, 4,000 indigenous youths have benefited from the Hinterland Employment Youth Services.

This program is an initiative of the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs and is aimed at providing youths with an economic opportunity.

According to the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Alfred King, over 1,300 reported businesses have been established by youths who participated in the program. King was earlier today addressing the delegates at the 12th annual National Toshaos Council conference.

He said “we need to ensure these businesses grow over time”. The Permanent Secretary also noted that under the Amerindian Development Fund (ADF), 153 businesses were established with 96 of them being in operation. He disclosed, to date, $66Million has been generated as income.

However, he noted that the sum does not reflect the number of profits garnered.

The ADF program is expected to end in December 2018.

The permanent secretary stated that like all projects, there were some challenges pointing out that the issue of proper governance is a major hurdle. He noted that these two programs were developed with two sustainable development goals in mind, these being “poverty reduction and access to economic activities”.

He also highlighted that apart from aiding in the reduction of poverty, the funds invested in these projects will allow for “some economic cash flow” in Indigenous communities.

Today, day four of the NTC conference, saw several ministers of government and heads of agencies engaging the toshaos and senior village councillors to address issues affecting the indigenous communities.