The Chairman of the United Bank of Africa (UBA), Tony Elumelu, has stressed the need to unlock the potential of young people in Nigeria and other countries in Africa, in order to catalyse the socio-economic development of the continent.
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Elumelu pointed out that Africa is the world’s youngest continent, saying that almost 60 percent of the country’s population is under the age of 25 as youths of 35 years and under are estimated to constitute 70 percent of the country’s population.
“However, the jobless rate in Nigeria has now risen to about 30 percent in March 2021. The Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns have exposed the vulnerabilities in our population structure. We now have, as a continent, the largest young generation in history – this youthful population is Africa’s hope, it is our pride and it is our potential. The urgency and need to unlock the potential of this generation is imperative for the security of our collective future.” He said
He added that there is a need for a high sense of urgency, a dissatisfaction with what is happening presently as well as a commitment to improving things.
Elumelu stressed that it is crucial youth issues must be the main and central issue of the time saying millions of young people are entering the job market every year and 20 million jobs are needed to be created annually to absorb new entrants in the labour market unlike three million formal jobs created annually across Africa before the pandemic outbreak.
While speaking on the power of entrepreneurship, According to Elumelu, his team at UBA, TEF, and the across the HH Group has realized that the real power of entrepreneurship- is key to harnessing the potential of these young Africans
“By so doing, we secure our future. This comes from our own experience, first as entrepreneurs and secondly as people that have committed a lot of resources at TEF (capital, time, personnel) helping to create a new generation of African entrepreneurs. He added.
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“The enormous potential of our youth, we must prioritize our support for small-scale businesses. Corporate organizations do well in employing people but there is a limit on how much corporates can do in employing the huge numbers of our unemployed youths. Therefore, capacitating and supporting small businesses, empowering our young ones and their businesses, in our view is the most powerful means to reduce unemployment on the continent,” he said.
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