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General News of Thursday, 25 November 2021


Osinbajo proffers solution to youth unemployment At GAIN summit

Vice President  of Nigeria Prof Yemi Osinbajo Vice President of Nigeria Prof Yemi Osinbajo

Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo has called for increased entrepreneurship opportunities as a panacea to youth unemployment in Africa.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2021 edition of the Grand Africa Initiative (GAIN) Youth Summit, the Vice President emphasized that such was the path to economic prosperity and conflict resolution on the African continent.

Prof Osinbajo, who spoke through the Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, praised the efforts of GAIN in promoting and exposing entrepreneurship opportunities to youths, advising that they leverage on that opportunity to get capacity for global relevance.

‘Interestingly, GAIN focus areas strongly align with those of the Nigerian Government as well as other African governments. Your key focused areas resonate with us in Nigeria and in other climes across Africa,’ he said.

‘Evidently, the GAIN masterclass on entrepreneurship is critical so is the Youth Summit, being a platform for engagement for conversation. Similarly, the GAIN mentoring programme is equally critical because we need to mentor our youths to prepare them for positions of leadership.

‘It’s clear from the experience of Asia, that no country, no continent can fight its way out of unemployment when it comes to the youths without deliberately towing the part of entrepreneurship which is critical and you can draw the linkage between entrepreneurship and MSMEs.

‘Access to credit facilities has been the bane of MSMEs, but yet, they remain a disincentive to innovation and entrepreneurship in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. The question of illegal immigration, the issue of drug abuse, conflicts that we see, can easily be traced to the problem of youth unemployment.

‘Is there a silver bullet? There is non, but are there opportunities, are there models and are there things we could do on a consistent basis to start to bring down these numbers and to start to engage our youth? Yes, there are, and I think organisations like GAIN are on the right path with the right visions, right goals and objectives.’

The 2021 GAIN Summit which attracted over 4,000 participants from 63 countries across the world who joined virtually, exposed the youths to opportunities abound in Africa and the need to get the relevant capacity and skills that would give them an edge among other global competitors.

Key speakers at the GAIN pan African Summit included the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing who was represented by the British Deputy High Commissioner, Mr Ben Llewellyn-Jones; Angola Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Januario Quibato Eustaquio; South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Thami Mseleku; Mrs Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, The CEO, Tony Elumelu Foundation; Babajide Sodipo, Senior Manager in the AU/AFCFTA Relations and Trade Policy, Afrexim Bank.

Others are, Prof Joseph Nnanna, Chief Economist, Development Bank of Nigeria Plc; Prof Ndubuisi Ekekwe, Lead Faculty, Tekedia Institute, USA; Oluwamuyemi Orimolade, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Microsoft philanthropies, Middle East & Africa & Philanthropies Lead for Nigeria, Microsoft among others.

In her speech, the Executive Director of GAIN, Chinwe Okoli, framed the dire unemployment and limited economic opportunities situation facing African youths as an existential challenge to the continent and a potential threat to the global efforts to curb illegal migration.

‘The issues overwhelm a young person trying to get a head-start in life. This result in their taking several actions which may further fuel insecurity or result in a desperate search for greener pastures abroad through illegal migration,’ she said.

‘From what we could see, it is no longer just Africa’s problem. Urgent attention is required to help reverse the trend and restore hope to the young people in Africa, and solving this problem means advancing our collective interest-a prosperous and safer world.’

She appreciated the support of the partners, notably, Afrexim Bank and Development Bank of Nigeria towards ensuring that African youths have the opportunity to interact with key political and business leaders from across the continent.