No fewer than 20 million young Nigerians would be impacted with digital skills through an initiative of the Federal Government and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Vice President Yemi Osinbajo disclosed on Monday, in Abuja.
Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement, said this was part of a pre-recorded message delivered by the vice president at the official launch of the Generation Unlimited (GenU) programme in Nigeria.
GenU is a global, multi-sector partnership initially launched in September 2018, in collaboration with over 200 partners, and impacting over 100 million young people globally, through innovations and programmes in more than 40 countries across six continents.
Osinbajo said that the initiative, which offered expanded education, training and employment, targeting 20 million Nigerians from aged between 10 and 24 years, from 2021 to 2030, would positively impact the country’s future job growth enabling programmes.
“This programme is important because it promises to provide 20 million Nigerians with digital skills; link them to entrepreneurial and other job opportunities and assist them in realising their full potentials.
“Over the next couple of years, we will provide digital learning, employment, entrepreneurship and engagement for and with 20 million young Nigerians.
“This process is not only significant for our socio-economic development as a nation in the coming years, but also provides a learning asset for developing future job growth enabling programmes.
“Nigeria has one of the world’s largest young populations; and it bears repeating that our country’s youth are the nation’s present and indeed its future; the cost of failing to invest in them is quite simply, unimaginable.
“So, we are excited to be a part of the ambitious goal of reaching young Nigerians with this opportunity.
“The work is massive, and we know we cannot achieve this objective without strong partnerships; and so, the presidency, the relevant ministries and state governments will be collaborating with GenU Nigeria, the private sector, the international community and our young people themselves to make this a reality.”
Osinbajo said GenU Nigeria would have three key components– Digital Skills Development, The Workforce Readiness Programme and Youth Engagement — as youth employment, and especially the empowerment of female entrepreneurs, was a major aspect of GenU Nigeria.
The vice president commended private sector partners such as Airtel, the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Jobberman Nigeria, among others, for their innovative work with young entrepreneurs throughout the country and for their commitment to GenU Nigeria.
The introduction of GenU Nigeria was in collaboration with state governors, including Govs. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, Abdullahi Ganduje, Kano State and Godwin Obaseki of Edo.
Edward Kallon, UN Resident Coordinator, was also part of the initiative as a development partner.
GenU Nigeria, billed to be implemented in 12 states distributed across the six geo-political zones in the country, has a wide range of development partners, including the AfDB, GIZ, ILO, UNDP, USAID, and private sector organisations.
The participating states and their zones include: Northwest – Kano State and Kaduna State; South West — Lagos State and Ogun; North East –Borno and Bauchi States; South East — Ebonyi and Enugu States; North Central — Niger and Benue; South-South — Rivers and Cross River.
Dignitaries present at the launch included Kano Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje, Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shuaibu; Minister of State for Science and Technology, Mohammed Abdullahi, and the Lagos State Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr Segun Dawodu.
Others were: UNDP’s Kallon, alongside Country Representative, UNICEF Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, Country Managing Partner PwC, Nigeria, Uyi Akpata, Global Chief Executive Officer, GenU, Kevin Frey, and representatives of youth groups.