President of the United States, Barack Obama, on Thursday announced a US$70 million development programme to benefit youth in Latin America and the Caribbean.
President Obama announced the programme at a special Town Hall meeting with Caribbean youth leaders held at the UWI Mona Campus in Jamaica as part of his historic visit to the island.
Obama announced that the programme will be used to support education, training and employment for Latin American and Caribbean Youth.
The Charismatic US Leader stated “These investments will help young people in unemployed, impoverished and marginalised communities (and) give them a chance to gain the skills they need to compete and succeed in the 21st century,”
He noted that the opportunities available to young people today give them the freedom to be creative and enterprising.
“More than a hundred million people in Latin America and the Caribbean are between the ages of 15 and 24. Most of the region is under 35 and what gives me so much hope about your generation is that you’re more interested in the hard work of …building prosperity through entrepreneurship, not cronyism or corruption,” President Obama said.
Ag Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture , Hon. Shawn K. Richards has welcomed the announcement by the US President and stated that the programme, will undoubtedly provide benefits for the entire Caribbean including St.Kitts-Nevis.
“The initiative by President Obama strongly indicates that he shares with myself and the Team UNITY Administration, the same passion for youth development.” Said Ag Prime Minister Richards
“As we see more and more young people with great ideas being marginalized and defeated due to lack of support to start their own businesses, the government sees this as an added avenue for them to advance themselves as entrepreneurs,” Richards said .
Richards continued “Sometimes all it takes is putting them in touch with investors or learning the most cost-effective and efficient way to produce or market their products or expertise in order for our young people to create successful businesses and we would want once the YLAI comes fully on stream that they take every advantage.”
“ The initiative will aid the Government’s effort in building and further developing a comprehensive entrepreneurship and skills training programme,” Richards concluded
Obama unveiled the $70-million Young Leaders of the Americas program that aims at supporting youth development in terms of education, training and entrepreneurship in Central America and Caribbean.The initiatives will help young entrepreneurs to develop their businesses through fellowships and incubators in the US. Each year, 250 fellowships will be offered to interested parties at universities, incubators, and non-governmental organisations across the US.