By Princewill Ekwujuru & Ike Uchechukwu
In a bid to build entrepreneurship and reduce unemployment, Lafarge Africa and Cuso International said they have collaborated to provide grants worth N10 million to 50 youths in their host communities in Cross River State.
Beneficiaries who are from Akamkpa, Akpabuyo, Calabar Municipality and Calabar South local government areas were supported to set up businesses in fishery, poultry, oil palm processing, renewable energy and cassava processing.
Plant Manager of Lafarge Africa, Mr. David Brown, said the company entered into the partnership in recognition of Cuso’s outstanding role in youth empowerment in the natural resource sector in the state.
Brown said they believed in building together with their host communities for the future, while ensuring they leave positive footprints that will build skills, improve livelihood and impact the society.
He congratulated the 50 successful beneficiaries, consisting of 32 females and 18 males, who were made it out of an initial number of 200.
His words: “Lafarge Africa’s commitment to the development of our local communities is unwavering. We therefore ask for the continued support and understandings of all our stakeholders to enable us achieve set goals.
Country representative, Cuso International, Ebrima Sonko, said the partnership with Lafarge Africa was an offshoot of the firm’s YouLead programme, a $15 million project that CUSO is doing is Cross River State to address youth unemployment. According to him, over 3, 000 jobs have so far been created under the YouLead programme.
Sonko said the programme dovetailed with the intention of Lafarge to help the host communities, describing the partnership as a good one.
Beneficiaries of the programme, who lauded the organizations for the gesture, said it would improve their lives and their communities, as well as help to curb youth restiveness in the state.
They promised to be committed to the entrepreneurship programme and ensure the positive multiplier effects are felt in their various communities.