The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has called on the federal government to embark on bolder measures to enhance the competitiveness of youths in order to match their peers on the global level.
Adesina added that the government must do everything possible to reinvent itself by focusing on the youth population, adding that with a population of 206 million people, out of which 70 pent are under the age of 30 years, “what Nigeria does with its youth will determine the future of the country”.
He spoke virtually at the Joshua Generation International Youth Conference, themed: “Living with a Purpose,” held recently.
He expressed worry that currently, Nigeria’s youths are faced with several challenges, including unemployment, limited technical and vocational skills, limited inclusion in social and political space, and lack of financing for ventures and businesses.
Adesina said: “The greater wealth of Africa, and of course Nigeria, will come from the youth. I know there are several misconceptions about the youth. I don’t understand why, because I was once a youth myself.
“The youth are not the problem of Nigeria; the youth are the assets of Nigeria. We must not relegate the youth to the background; we must put the youth in the fore.” He noted.
He added that the country must explore all possibility to reinvent itself by focusing on the youth, adding that, “Nigeria must embark on bolder measures to grow its youth into a well-trained globally competitive workforce.
“The youth do not need empowerment. Look around, often those who say they are empowering them are actually simply empowering themselves. The youth do not need handouts. The youth need investment.”
Adesina further said the AfBD recognized the importance of youth to the economy, stressing that this was why the bank created the Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks.
Through this, he said they will be financial institutions for young people, run by first-rate young bankers and financial experts, to drive youth-wealth creation in Africa
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