Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has urged African countries to positively engage the youths in order to harness their potentials for the advancement of the continent.
Osinbajo made the call yesterday in Abuja during the celebration of the African Youth/Launch of the National Youth Policy and App tagged: “One Million by 2021, Count Me in.”
Speaking through the Special Adviser to the President on Social investments, Mrs. Mariam Uwais, the Vice President said Africa must harness the potentials of her youths for the development of the continent.
“It is clear that Africa is being confronted with various challenges. The only way to address some of these challenges is to harness the energy of the continent’s youths and positively utilise their synergy to develop Africa,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, the Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, disclosed that the federal government through his ministry would train about 200,000 youths to close the digital gap that currently exists in the country.
According to him, “In the next two years, under DEEL, the ministry intends to equip about 200,000 youth with digital skills – basic, intermediate and advance skills in the areas of web design and management, software training, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, App development, mobile device repairs, artificial intelligence, coding and data processing.
“We at the ministry will begin this process through one of our strategic implementation partners Junior Achievement Nigeria as soon as an agreement is delivered to leverage on their 64 digital hubs spread across the country. The ministry will also activate its Youth Development Centres across the country for entrepreneurship skills training.” In addition, he said, “today, we begin the new DEEL process through the Work Experience Programme (WEP). It is intended to connect in the next one year 5,000 unemployed graduates with employers by placing them in the corporate world on internship capacities for a short period.”
Dare added that it’s important that governments in Africa continue to place the need for increased investments in youth on the front burner, commending the African Union for the project ‘One Million by 2021.’
The minister also said in the past, many African governments in their quest for sustainable development have invested substantially in infrastructure and economic reforms, while paying little attention to the development of their human capital.
“Decades of these investments still leave us in the search for more effective ways to attain our development goals. For me, I believe the way to go is to tilt the scale. The cost implication of increasing investment in youth is minimal when compared with the enormous resources most countries in Africa expend to mitigate the impact of poor investments in youth on peace, security and economies of our nations.
“Many experts propound that the youth bulge, if not adequately harnessed, will become a demographic timed bomb rather than a resource, because a large number of frustrated youth will likely become a potential source of social and political instability,” he said.
Others, who spoke at the event, included: Minister of State National Budget, Mr. Clem Aba; Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs. Pauline Tallen; Minister of State for Science and Technology, Mohammed Abdullahi; among others.