The Nigerian government has set out a programme to equip 200,000 youth with basic digital skills over the next two years.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, said this during the Africa Youth Day celebration and launching of the National Youth Policy pocket size in Abuja on Tuesday.
He listed some of the skills to be taught under the programme as web design and management, software training, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, mobile device repairs, coding and data processing.
The African Youth Day celebration was tagged “One million by 2021, count me in”.
The African Youth Day is usually observed only on the first day of November after its adoption in June 2006 by African Heads of Government at their meeting in Banjul, Gambia.
However, for this year 2019, the African Union has decided to dedicate the whole month to the commemoration of the event, tagged – One Million by 2021, Count me in.
This African Union said the choice of November was driven by the desire to mobilise at least one million young Africans towards having the chance to be among one million young Africans who will benefit from direct opportunities in the areas of Education, Employment, Entrepreneurship and Engagement (4Es).
According to Mr Dare, one of the ways of achieving the target is 250 Nigerian youth will run through a two-month course in 24 organisations every two months and they will later be offered employment.
“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,” he said.
He said the interns will receive stipends from Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development in order to ensure they fully engage in work-readiness activities, without distractions.
“I urge you youth to visit our website and apply for this opportunity. The process starts immediately you apply, Mr President’s has a new DEEL (Digital Literacy and Skills Acquisition programme. E stands for Entrepreneurship. E stands for Employment. L stands for leadership and mentoring) for the youth; and it starts today! This month offers a new vista of new beginnings,” he said.
The minister said the youth composed 70 million of the Nigerian population.
He said over 60 per cent of Nigeria graduates are unemployable because they lack basic digital skills to compete in today’s global economy.
“Youth unemployment rate averaged 23.63 per cent from 2014 until 2018. 4.5 million enter the job market yearly- only 10 per cent can be absorbed,” he said.
Also speaking, the minister of state, science and technology, Muhammad Abdullahi, said the ministry will collaborate with the youth and sport development ministry on wealth creation.
He encouraged the youth to venture and utilise the biotechnology in order to bring Nigeria out of economic challenges.
“Nigerian youth should look at Agriculture as an alternative to lifting Nigeria out of poverty. Agriculture is an alternative to address youth unemployment.
Also speaking at the event, the minister of state, budget and planning, Clem Agba, said the ministry will assist in terms of funding for youth empowerment.
Meanwhile, the director of the Voice of Disabilities Initiative, Catherine Edeh, during a panel session called for the inclusion of people with disabilities in schools, higher institutions, ministries and place of work
“How many organisations in Nigeria have inclusion officers and disability department? How many employ people with disability?” she said
A participant, Olufumulayo Adejumobi from Camp Yeshua initiative, said the one million by 2021 target is a small part of Agenda 2063 which is a broader project for Africa nations.
“For the one million by 2021, which is about education, engagement and empowerment, for the engagement part, we are into advocacy on the rape of the boy child. A lot Nigerian do not believe a boy can be raped. we have treated a number of cases which shows that male children between five and 18 were raped by their aunts, cousins, friends even their mum. We will also do more to make sure this work.”