…Says Failure To Invest In Youth Would Have Incomprehensible Consequences
Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has stated that the Federal Government of Nigeria is committed to supporting Generation Unlimited (GenU).
He made the pledge on Monday at the official launch of Generation Unlimited in Abuja, saying it will equip 20 million Nigerians with digital skills, connect them to entrepreneurship and other career possibilities, and help them realize their full potential.
Nigeria has one of the world’s largest young populations, he said, and failing to invest in them would have unfathomable consequences.
We will bring digital training, employment, entrepreneurship, and engagement to 20 million Nigerians in the next several years, he stated.
According to Osinbajo, ” This process is not only significant for the socio-economic development of the country in the coming years but also provides a learning landscape for developing future job growth-enabling programmes.
“The Generation Unlimited is an initiative of UNICEF launched in September, 2018 in collaboration with over 200 partners. It was designed to link over 1 billion young people with innovations and programmes in 40 countries across six continents.
“It is part of the ambitious goal of reaching young Nigerians with those opportunities, we can’t achieve the objectives without strong partnerships, the presidency, the Federal Ministries and the state governments will be collaborating with Generation Unlimited Nigeria, the private sector, the international community and the young people themselves to make this a reality.
” After extensive consultation with critical stakeholders, it was agreed that GenU Nigeria will have three key components, digital skills development, and youth engagement. Youth employment especially the empowerment of female entrepreneurs is a major aspect of GenU Nigeria”, he added.
Earlier the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Country representative Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, said, Generation Unlimited (Gen U) is a global multisector partnership aimed at supporting the over 1.8 billion youth globally with relevant and future-proof skills, thereby connecting them to entrepreneurship and employment opportunities, and supporting them change the world for themselves and their communities.
He stated that, ” Nigeria, being the largest African economy has one of the largest young populations in the world, and youth unemployment at 37%. This represents an extraordinary opportunity for development and growth. It’s in view of this that the Gen U is embarking on a mission to reach 20 million youths in 10 years with quality education, skills training, employment, entrepreneurship opportunities, targeting girls and adolescents from underserved communities, including those living with disabilities in Africa’s largest economy.
“In 2020, Gen U Nigeria conducted a country investment agenda to help all stakeholders understand the missing Opportunities in the continuum of how young people are equipped and enabled to become productive and engaged citizens in society through formal and informal learning. In line with this, Gen U Nigeria identified 3 core interventions which it will focus on: Digital connectivity also called “NaijaConnect” with emphasis on GIGA (connecting every school
and learner to the internet) and digital skills development Work readiness programme with emphasis on apprenticeship Youth engagement and participation which gives young people their voice and agency.
“Gen U Nigeria recorded some milestones which include: winner of the Gen U Global Youth Challenge competition in the education category where Team MUDA, a group of 4 young people in Maiduguri came up with an innovative idea called Street2School a social enterprise initiative that provides vulnerable young people (10-20 years) from marginalized communities across North East Nigeria access to basic foundational (literacy and numeracy), soft skills and live skills through a blended online and offline community learning hub.
“The Youth Market Place called YOMA launched by UNICEF and partners is a digital marketplace where youths can develop their skills, find opportunities, and achieve impact, while connecting to peers in a supportive community through a learning to earning platform. Presently, over 400,000 Nigerian youths have been reached, More than 7000 online innovated challenge and 1000+ Jobberman Soft Skills certificates issued completed.
“More than 8000 data and airtime rewards redeemed and over 45 youth mentorship sessions”.
He lamented that youths today face many economic, social and cultural challenges.
Hawkins said, “The types of skills needed in the labour market are changing. Technological changes are making many jobs vulnerable to automation and a large portion of job creation is driven by entrepreneurs and small businesses, while education systems are outdated and fragmented.
“These challenges are more acute for young people in disadvantaged communities and with Nigeria having 65.6 million people aged 10-24, Nigeria has one of the largest young populations in
the world, representing an extraordinary opportunity for development and growth. Nigeria’s unemployment rate is 23 per cent, among the highest in sub-Saharan Africa, with youth unemployment at 37 per cent – almost double that of the national rate”.
He said implementation would be tailored to state priorities, 5millon youths would be trained in Entrepreneurship, 1 million on data and analytic, 5 million on agr-business, 2million on supply and logistics, 5 million on job matching, and 2 million youths would be trained in communication and transportation.
And the pilot states are Lagos and Kan States and their governors embraced the gesture and pledged their support.
Meanwhile, the CEO, Tony Elumelu Foundation and the Co-Chair of GenU Nigerian Steering Committee, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu said
GenU Nigeria is about connectivity and bringing together government, private sector, international development partners and the youth to create a Nigeria where the youths are engaged as productive members of the society leveraging on digital technology.
The aim , according to her is to ensure that young Nigerians have access to training and skills acquisition that will make them employable and also connect them to jobs.
Nigeria has 65 million youth population adding that UNICEF working with partners has put in place an incisive digital protocol and landscape to ensure that Gen U Nigeria reaches 20 million Nigerian youths with skills training, education, employment, Entrepreneurship and empowerment by 2030.