Shina Abubakar, Osogbo
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Pantami has disclosed that the solution to youth unemployment in Nigeria is to focus on digital innovation and entrepreneurship.
Pantami, while delivering a paper titled, “Digital Economy, Digital Youth and the Imperatives of Sustainable Development for the 21st Century” at Fountain University’s 2022 Annual Distinguished Guest Lecture series, in Osogbo, Osun state capital, said Nigerian youths must acquire digital skills to break the yoke of unemployment.
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His words; “In other words, lack of digital innovation and entrepreneurial skills will increase the proportion of the digital youth that are unemployable and the number of unemployed graduates. Therefore, our citizens need to become entrepreneurs, innovators, and risk-bearers, to create more jobs in society.
“It is rather disturbing to note that a great number of this percentage are graduates from Nigerian universities, colleges of education, and polytechnics who are in the job markets in search of non-existing jobs. It is worth noting that any society that lacks innovation and entrepreneurial skills will have to contend with the challenge of unemployment.
“In an economy with a high number of unemployed youths and where finding jobs is very challenging, a lot needs to be done to reverse the trend”.
In reversing the trend, the Minister said the Federal Government has designed deliberate policy in training youths in digital skill acquisition with a view to making them job creators.
“We are championing a paradigm change that lays emphasis on skills, in preference to merely having degrees without skills. This is because we believe that degrees are meant to validate skills. No digital economy can thrive unless there is an abundant supply of highly skilled citizens.
“In line with this pillar, the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy through the National Information Technology Development Agency set up the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics to serve as the digital laboratory for advancing skills development and innovation in emerging technologies in Nigeria,” he added.
In his welcome address, the Vice Chancellor, Fountain University, Professor Amidu Saani harped on the need for youth to develop an interest in skill acquisition to enable them to have another source of living which by extension, would help alleviate poverty.
According to the VC, “Any serious university these days would want to tailor its academic programmes along the lines of innovation and skill that is largely influenced by the facilities of ICT, the imperatives of entrepreneurship, faith-inspired morality.”