AfDB President Tasks FG on Making Nigerian Youths Globally Competitive




AfDB President Akinwunmi Adesina

By Tony Obiechina, Abuja

The President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina has called on the Federal Government to embark on bolder measures to grow its youth into a well-trained globally competitive work force.

He said this at the Joshua Generation International Youth Conference with theme “Living with a Purpose.”

The AfDB Boss who was Nigeria’s former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development said said as a nation, government must do everything possible to reinvent itself by focusing on the youths.

He expressed worry that currently, Nigeria’s youths are faced with several challenges, including unemployment, limited technical and vocational skills, limited inclusion in social and political space, and lack of financing for ventures and businesses.

Adesina noted that with a population of 206 million people, out of which 70 percent are under the age of 30 years, what Nigeria does with its youth will determine the future of the country.

“The greater wealth of Africa, and of course Nigeria, will come from the youth.  I know there are several misconceptions about the youth. I don’t understand why, because I was once a youth myself.

“The youth are not the problem of Nigeria; the youth are the assets of Nigeria. We must not relegate the youth to the background; we must put the youth in the fore.

“As a nation, Nigeria must do all possible to reinvent itself by focusing on the youth. Yet Nigeria’s youth face several challenges, including unemployment, limited technical and vocational skills, limited inclusion in social and political space, and lack of financing for ventures and businesses”, he said.

According to him, Nigeria must embark on bolder measures to grow its youth into a well-trained globally competitive work force.

“The youth do not need empowerment. Look around, often those who say they are empowering them are actually simply empowering themselves. The youth do not need handouts. The youth need investment”, he stated.

Adesina further said the AfBD recognized the importance of youth to the economy, adding that this was why the bank created the Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks.

Through this, he said they will be financial institutions for young people, run by first-rate young bankers and financial experts, to drive youth-wealth creation in Africa.

He also said the African Development Bank is implementing a program to support Africa’s youth in computer coding for employment.

He disclosed that the Bank’s ‘Youth in Africa Coding for Employment Program’ which was launched in 2018, has already equipped over 80,000 young people with skills to enhance their employability in this digital era.

Adesina said, “Huge opportunities exist for the youth in agriculture. You might wonder why? Well, consider this: the size of the food and agribusiness market for Africa will be worth a whopping $ 1trn by 2030.

“The millionaires and billionaires of Africa will no longer come from the and business, they will come from agriculture. Nobody drinks . Nobody smokes . But everybody eats food.

“Nigeria must ensure that poverty does not become the heritage of its youth. Today, Nigeria’s youth are largely poor, unemployed, underemployed and unhappy.

“Majority of them are in informal sector which accounts for 93 per cent of all employment.  The high level of youth unemployment is at the core of the massive wave of insecurity being witnessed in Nigeria.”

He said while Nigeria’s youth have lost hope, huge opportunities exist for them.

“But it will take determination and unflinching resolve to succeed. Success will never be handed to you on a platter of gold.” he added.

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