By Yinka Kolawole
The President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has called on the Nigerian government to take more decisive actions aimed at turning the nation’s demographic asset into economic development.
Adesina made the remark yesterday in a keynote address at the 21st NECCIPR Roundtable in Lagos, with the theme, “Social Media, National Security and Social Change: Bridging the Gap for Development in Africa”, adding that time was ripe to unleash the potential of the Nigerian youth.
He stated: “Today, over 75 percent of the population is under the age of 35 years. More decisive actions are needed to turn this demographic asset into an economic dividend. A young productive, youthful population, with access to education, skills, social protection, affordable housing, and medical care, will power Nigeria’s economy, now and well into the future.
“We must move away from so-called ‘youth empowerment programs’. The youth do not need handouts, they need investments. There is no doubt that Social Media if adequately and appropriately harnessed would bring about a digital revolution headed by “youthpreneurs” that will disrupt our financial world.”
The AfDB President further noted that social media has been described as the 5th estate of the realm, offering people unfettered platform to connect with people, adding that leaders have no choice but to engage because they no longer have any place to hide.
“Today, billions have unprecedented power in their palms to communicate, but there’s still a huge digital divide because of limited access to internet. Access to the internet in today’s modern era is very important,” he said.
Earlier in her opening remark, the convener of the Roundtable, Mrs Nkechi Ali-Balogun, said: “It is no longer a matter of conjecture that social media now possesses the power to influence national security and social change. As we explore the potentials of this theme and look at the future of Nigeria’s security and digital world, we feel the urgent need to sensitize the citizenry on the need to be digital-savvy, and innovative in this 4th revolution age.”