Nigeria is currently grappling with an unemployment rate of 23 percent. According to the National Bureau Statistics data between 2012 to 2016, twenty nine percent of narcotics seized in Nigeria were from Edo State which led the NDLEA to arrest 1,284 indigenes of the state which was also notorious in the global human trafficking chain. The International Organization for Migration stated that of the over 11,000 women trafficked into Italy in 2016 majority were from Edo State and were forced into prostitution as victims of sex trafficking, suffering various forms of brutality and other risks associated with their trade.
Governor Godwin Obaseki upon assumption of office as Executive Governor decided to tackle this malaise which was threatening the social fabric upon which the pride of the state which is referred to as the Heartbeat was built as the citadel of the great Benin Empire famed for its deep culture. As a successful investment banker before his entry into politics, he knows the importance of employment as an enabler for economic development. Accordingly, he decided to create 200,000 directly and indirectly during his first tenure in office.
Data from Edo State Skills Development Agency also known as Edo Jobs in a Business Day special report on job creation in Edo State showed that in 2017, 22,828 direct jobs were created 49,670 in 2018 and 46,576 in 2019 respectively with 32,430 indirect jobs created within that period.
The various programmes and their beneficiaries include:
- . Job Tracking: 46,576 beneficiaries
- . Job Matching and Placement: 3,434 beneficiaries
- . Skills Development and Entrepreneurship: 22,872 beneficiaries
- Edo Innovates: 27,732 beneficiaries
- Edo Food and Agric Cluster: 1,376 beneficiaries
- Edo Production Centre: 161 beneficiaries
- Edo State Ministry of Wealth Creation: 10,000 beneficiaries
- National Social Investment Programmes: 12, 413 beneficiaries
- Indirect Jobs: 32,430 beneficiaries
- Total: 156, 994 beneficiaries
Edo Jobs was set up to make Edo State an economic frontier due to its strategic location in order to attract capital and highly skilled talent in Edo State in diverse fields such as agriculture, construction, entertainment, ICT and manufacturing. It is headed by Mrs Ukinebo Dare an indigene of the state who had played major roles in youth development in Nigeria.
In collaboration with Microsoft, Tech 4 Dev, LinkedIn, Curators University, Hotels.ng, Makers Academy, Pan Atlantic University’s Entrepreneurship Development Centre and Siemens amongst others, it has upskilled over 20,000 youths in entrepreneurship and innovation, artificial intelligence and data science, digital design, web development, etc, and offers digital skills, business support services, startup incubation, business acceleration, mentorship and co-working spaces.
Its Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Initiative Training Programmes include
- . Digital Marketing For Entrepreneurs
- . Business Startup Incubation
- . Employability Skills Training For Job Seekers
- . Linked In Business Meetups and Training
- . SME Tool Kit Training
- . Entrepreneurship and Innovation
- . GSM and Laptop Repairs
- . Photography and Creativity
- . The Business of Cosmetology
- . Welding and Fabrication, Plumbing and Pipe fitting
- . ICT
- . Catering
- . SME Acceleration Programme
- . Automotive Engineering(Training and Internship)
- . Solar Panel Installation and Business Support
- . Makeup
- . Soapmaking
- . Natural Skincare Product Manufacturing
- . Crop Production
- . Financial Literacy
- . Edo Jobbers Ambassadors and Financial Inclusion Programme
- . Financial Management Training For SMEs
- . Epoxy/3D Wallpaper Installation
- . Web and Graphic Design
- . Aluminum and POP Tiling
Edo Innovates was established to create an ecosystem for individuals, startups and SMEs to harness opportunities available in the technology sector for their growth. It also provides training and solutions to secondary school students and Co-working spaces as well as acceleration programmes for startups and Smes. Its programmes include:
- . Mobile Application Development
- .Google Tekly Code
- . Google Digital Skills
- . ICT and Digital Design by Edo Bits
- . Web Development for Female Teachers by Tech4Dev
- . Code For Nigeria
- . Web Maintenance Training
- . Microsoft Office Training For Teachers by Edo ICT Agency
- . Data Science and Artificial Intelligence by Curators University
- . Gidimo Learning Through Tech for Secondary School Students
- . Managing Linked In For Lead Generation
- . Introduction to Robotics by Makers Academy and EdufunTechnik
- . Basic ICT Training and Entrepreneurship For Kids
- . Facebook Marketing
- . Edo Girls Can Code
- . Whiteboard Animation Workshop
- . Space Tech Training
- . Startup Cocktail
To improve learning outcomes in the educational sector, a programme was launched to support basic education. Teachers were provided with digital tools and that helps the Edo State Government with real time insights for effective policy planning for the sector, delivering real time quality content to teachers, and capacity development for teachers in managing and teaching with real time classroom analytics.
Edo Bits is another initiative which provides digital design skills to deepen ICT awareness across the state and provide the youths with skills for employability. It has a strict criteria for admission as candidates must be less privileged members of the society between the ages of 16 and 22 having completed secondary school. Its trainees are taught how to write computer programmes in Python and R languages. The programme is divided into web design, web development and graphic design. Two beneficiaries of this programme earn between 100,000 naira and 50,000 naira monthly as average income.
To prepare the youths of Edo State for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Edo Jobs collaborated with MainOne and Curators University, an organization which deepens capabilities of African youths in future skills such as Artificial Intelligence and Data Science. It plans to improve 10,000 youths in artificial intelligence and data science by 2020. Compared to its training fees of 153,000 naira and 50,000 which it charges attendees of its programmes in Lagos and Ondo States respectively the youths of Edo State have Edo Jobs to thank which bears the cost on their behalf. They are taught how to programme in Python and R languages which are necessary for data science projects with over 400 students as beneficiaries.
Xigma is a deep technology research and development company established by graduates of the University of Benin led by Derrick Nwasor focused on bringing breakthrough innovation to life. It has established three startups which were incubated at the Edo Innovation Hub. One is Nanodoors which manufactures ergonomically embedded computers. Another is Numbers Inc which uses artificial intelligence to provide security for private and government corporations. It produces end user technology that provide safety to people, places, homes, vehicles and properties. The other is New Digits which wants to fix Nigeria’s electricity paralysis with its proprietary technology that converts water to oxygen and hydrogen which can be used for cooking and electricity generation and has developed a solar energy solution that guarantees 12 hours of electricity per day with a lifespan of 25 years and costs 170,000naira per unit. New Digits does an average of 750,000 naira monthly as revenue and is currently seeking $200,000 seed funding at a $1million valuation.
The First Lady Mrs Betsy Obaseki in collaboration with Hewlett Packard Learning Initiative For Entrepreneurs(HPLife) has established a technology powered incubation centre which will utilize simulation, online activities, narration and dynamic assessment aimed at engaging the attendees in finance, marketing, operations, communications, social entrepreneurship, energy efficiency, effective leadership and strategic planning.
HP Life will upgrade the learning outcomes for 100,000 Edo State residents by 2025, and utilizing the sharing economic redesign will help them create their own digital platforms, anchored on aggregation construct, which will be frontiers of wealth creation for their families, communities and nation.
Other state governors who are desirous and serious about solving the unemployment paralysis pervading their various states – a time bomb that could lead to security situations beyond their control – should visit Edo State and learn from their colleague Godwin Obaseki on how to create sustainable jobs and not dishing out tricycles, shoe shining kits and tea making accessories as panacea for unemployment.