The Nigerian government is planning to launch the National Youth Policy that will strengthen entrepreneurship across the country. The plan is to develop a policy that will empower Nigerian youths to succeed in their entrepreneurial endeavors.
The Minister of Youth and sports, Sunday Dare, disclosed this during the Student Entrepreneurship Activity Hub (SEA-Hub), National Competition held in Abuja on the 7th of November. He said there have been misconceptions about Nigerian youths, and it is the mandate of the Ministry of Sports and Youth Development to correct them.
“Our youths no longer need empowerment but investment in entrepreneurship and skills development. We will be launching the National Youth Policy to ensure that more youths have access to employment and entrepreneurship development program,” he said.
The Minister was full of praises for the German Ministry for Economic Corporation and Development, Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), for the empowerment of over 14, 000 students through the SEA-Hub intervention programme.
“It’s exciting to know that over 14, 000 students have benefited from this programme. This is a good way to prepare the youths for the future. The future belongs to the youths who are innovative, bold and creative,” he said.
The head of SEDIN, Detlev Holloh, said that GIZ has continued to expand its empowerment activities through the sustainable development cluster. He noted that there has been an increase in employment and income generation through many programmes like the pro- poor growth and promotion of employment in Nigeria program-SEDIN.
According to him, the GIZ initiatives are designed to promote economic development, employment, rural development, governance and democracy among others.
“The SEDIN program promotes entrepreneurship through several approaches such as the SEA-Hub which have direct impact on some of the sustainable development goals.
“SEA-Hubs are extracurricular clubs created in schools to help young people build life-long skills and prepare them for the future. So far, SEA-Hub has reached close to 15, 000 students in Edo, Niger, Ogun and Plateau states.
“It is our hope that we continue to work together at the state and national levels to build and inclusive and sustainable future for our young entrepreneurs,” Holloh said.
The representative of the Minister of Education, Ayodele Adegun, didn’t save her delight at the development. She said that challenges facing youths in entrepreneurship in Nigeria cannot be ignored, and the fact that they need help to develop their skills and tackle unemployment is a naked truth.
“I want to commend GIZ for the empowerment programs that touched thousands of lives, the ministry will continue to support your efforts in improving the lives of the Nigerian youths,” she said.
The 2009 National Youth Policy was centered on five areas of priority that needed to be given attention for the improvement of the lives of Nigerian young age. These include the impact of globalization, access and use of communication technology, the impact of STDs and HIV/AIDS, intergenerational issues in an aging society, and youth perpetrators and victims of armed conflict.
Several years have passed since then and a lot has changed. There has been a host of new challenges facing the country, and of the most significant of them is unemployment.
Nigeria has a vibrant median age of 19.7, facing the challenge of unemployment. According to Spectator Index, 36 percent of Nigerian youths is unemployed, the second highest rate in the world. Only South Africa with 58 percent is ahead of Nigeria.
The alarming increase in unemployment figures in Nigeria is an indication that the youths do no longer need to depend on the government for jobs. In the age of internet and data technology, skill acquisition offers an alternative to scarce white collar jobs, but not when there is poor infrastructure to back it up.
Therefore, the promise of the youth and sports minister to launch a National Youth Policy that will meet the challenge of entrepreneurship in Nigeria beams hope. It will not only encourage organizational participation in capacity building, it will also empower youths to develop their individual skills gainfully.