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FG Calls For Collaboration With UNDP On Youth Empowerment



Joel Ajayi

The federal government has called for  the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)  to implement the strategic plans of the Ministry of youth development which are aimed at providing young Nigerians with the necessary skills, mentorship,  conducive environment  and access to resources that will empower them to become active contributors to the country’s economy. 

Dr. Jamila Bio Ibrahim, the Minister of Youth Development, made this call  during a meeting with the   Resident Representative of the UNDP,  Ms. Elsie Attafuah, which took place at the Honourable Minister’s conference room in Abuja.

While shedding light on the strategic areas of the ministry’s agenda. Dr. Bio-Ibrahim said, *”Our strategic ambition is to transform and reposition the Nigerian youth as catalysts for economic development.

Young people must be an integral part of this process. We have other sub-ambitions, the first being a reduction in the youth unemployment rate, followed by an increase in youth possessing skills that are in line with global demand,  and an increase in youth participation in social and economic development”*

She further said, *“Our core tactical initiatives are focused on four pillars: Governance, Jobs and Skills Innovation, Culture and Behavioral Change, and Human Capital Development. These pillars aim to guide policy advocacy and development, improve coordination across stakeholders, and provide multi-agency youth programs and resources”

 She emphasized the determination of her ministry to establish communication governance frameworks, implement youth-embedded public and private sector mentorship programs, create multi-sector job off-taker platforms for youth employment, enhance NYSC reforms and establish youth villages and innovation centers.
The Minister also disclosed plans to revitalize the national youth  investment fund, launch the Young Leaders Institute, implement social, behavioral, and cultural change programs aimed at tackling  youth-related issues such as climate change, gender, mental health, drug, and substance abuse. 
The Minister further explained that the initiative includes provision of  access to business literacy, financial management, and entrepreneurship training to meet the global market demand.
As part of efforts to actualise these initiatives, she disclosed plans to create more professional departments  in the ministry *”We are currently seeking approval to create additional professional departments. However, the one that is particularly important to us is the Youth Well-being Department. It is crucial to create such a department because when young people have good mental health, they are more likely to be productive. Therefore, our goal is to prioritize the well-being of our youth”,*   she said.

She further said, *“We are seeking approval to restart the Nigeria Investment Fund. If approved, it will enable us to employ the cluster approach with a view to enhancing youth development and empowerment. This, in turn, will lead to tangible sustainable impact on a great scale, and benefit our economy”.*

Dr. Bio-Ibrahim maintained that one of the Ministry’s main goals is to increase the representation of young people in politics and governance at all levels by seeking the Council’s approval for 30 percent youth quota. 

In his welcome remark, Dr. Donuma Umar Ahmed,  Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, expressed his sincere appreciation for the meeting with  UNDP Resident Representative. 
 He posited that the meeting was  aimed to bring about positive change in the lives of young people in Nigeria. He urged the participants to be  proactive in their contribution.

Ms. Elsie Attafuah, the Resident Representative of UNDP, gave the assurance that her organisation would  provide support for the innitiatives. 

She lamented that the African  continent is facing a daunting challenge as young people continue to struggle to find jobs, leading to frustration and the growing trend of going abroad to seek jobs. She pointed out that it was high time to delve deeper into the root causes of the problem and take a more realistic approach towards youth empowerment and job creation. 

“We must create more opportunities and find jobs for our people, as merely providing them with starter packs or training won’t solve it. We need to identify the obstacles that hold us back and tackle them head-on. Let’s work together to eradicate this problem and create a brighter future for our youth and our continent.” She said. 

“In the four pillars, we will  encourage everyone to think outside the box and explore innovative practices that align with the ever-changing world,”*  she added. Ms. Attafuah  expressed her eagerness  to collaborate with the Ministry in the  priority areas outlined by the Minister.

She stressed the importance of ensuring that the design, implementation, and operationalization are done properly. 

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FG to Harness the Digital Economy to Empower Youth



Joel Ajayi

The Honourable Minister of State for Youth Development, Mr Ayodele Olawande has disclosed that the Federal Government is making efforts to harness the potentials of the digital economy in empowering the youth and creating sustainable jobs. 

He made this disclosure in Abuja  when he received the participants of the Senior Executive Course 46, 2024 of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos, Plateau State  who were on study tour to the Ministry. 

Mr Olawande said over 50% of the population below the age of 30 have a significant demographic advantage in the digital age.

“Our youths are tech-savvy, innovative and eager to contribute to the country’s economic growth. However, they face numerous challenges including limited access to quality education, skills training and job opportunities. 

The digital economy offers a unique opportunity for Nigeria to leapfrog traditional development challenges. With the rise of e-commerce, digital payments and remote work”.  “Our youths can assess global markets, skills training and job opportunities like never before,” he added. 

According to the Minister, challenges hindering the growth of the digital economy in Nigeria must be addressed. 
He explained that to overcome the challenges, the Ministry has implemented initiatives such as digital skills training programs for youths, focusing on areas like software development, data analytics and digital marketing especially in the NYSC.

This, he disclosed is alongside partnering with Galaxy Back Bone to improve infrastructure, Internet connectivity and alternative electricity supply as well as funding opportunities such as grants, loans and venture capital for  startups of small businesses with launching of the National Youth Investment Fund.

  The Honourable Minister who hinted that the Ministry’ s goal is to create an ecosystem that supports entrepreneurship and employment opportunities for youth stated: ” We recognise that sustainable job creation is critical to Nigeria ‘s economic growth and stability”   

”I urge you all to join us in this journey to harness the potential of the digital economy for youth empowerment and sustainable job creation in Nigeria.”, he added. 

Mr Olawande further said that the opportunities and challenges underscore the need for a collaborative effort from all stakeholders to harness the potential of the digital economy for sustainable development.

The Minister who observed that there is a gap between the Government and the young people expressed his heartfelt desire for the Youths of the  nation to feel the Government. He opined that the  country has the most intelligent youths in the world. 

Earlier, the leader of the delegation from NIPSS, Barrister Nima Salman Mann, mni said they are in the Ministry to research, proffer solutions, recommendations and strategies to help Government chart its course for the the year, with the theme : ‘Digital Economy, Youth Empowerment and Sustainable Job Creation in Nigeria: Issues, Challenges and Opportunities’.

.She  also added that Ministry of Youth Development is very germane to this year’s theme .” We are with the Ministry of Youth to listen to what you are doing to help the youth, how you are doing it, strategic plans and way forward  as well as how we can use the digital economy to chart the goal for sustainable job creation,” she concluded. 

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