Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the Federal Government will support the UN Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) Generation Unlimited (GenU) project meant to equip youths with entrepreneurship skills.
Osinbajo stated this on Monday in Abuja at the official inauguration of the project, adding that it would equip 20 million Nigerians with digital skills and other career potential.
According to him, Nigeria has one of the world’s largest young populations and that failure to invest in them would have unfathomable consequences.
He said that the project would help many Nigerian youths to realize their potential as it would bring digital training, employment, entrepreneurship and engagement of many within the next few years.
“This process is not only significant for the socio-economic development of the country in the coming years but will also provides a learning landscape for developing future job growth-enabling programmes.
“The GenU project is an initiative of UNICEF launched in September 2018 in collaboration with over 200 partners. It was designed to link over one billion young people with innovations and programmes in 40 countries across six continents.
“This is part of the ambitious goal of reaching young Nigerians with those opportunities, we can’t achieve the objectives without strong partnerships, the Federal and state governments will be collaborating with GenU Nigeria,” Osinbajo explained.
“We will also be collaborating with private sector, the international community and the young people themselves to make this project a reality,” he said.
Speaking earlier, UNICEF Country Representative in Nigeria Peter Hawkins said that GenU was a global multi-sector partnership which aimed at supporting more than 1.8 billion youths across the world with relevant and future-proof skills.
Hawkins said that the project was meant to connect them with entrepreneurship and employment opportunities, as well as support them to change the world for themselves and their communities.
According to him, Nigeria, being the largest African economy has one of the largest young populations in the world, with youths unemployment rate of about 37 per cent.
He said that it was for this reason that the GenU was embarking on a mission to reach 20 million youths in 10 years with quality education, skills training, employment and entrepreneurship opportunities.
Hawkins said that the project would also target girls and adolescents from underserved communities, including those living with disabilities.
“In 2020, GenU Nigeria conducted a country investment agenda to help all stakeholders understand the missing opportunities in the continuum of how young people are equipped and enabled to become productive and engaged citizens.
“In line with this, GenU Nigeria identified three core interventions which it will focus on: Digital connectivity also called “NaijaConnect” with emphasis on GIGA (connecting every school and learner to the internet,” he said.
Hawkins said that implementation of the project would be tailored to state priorities as five million youths would be trained in entrepreneurship, one million on data and analytic as well as five million on agri-business.
He said that another two million youth would be trained on supply and logistics, five million on job matching, while two million would be trained in communication and transportation.
Also speaking, Mrs Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, the Chief Executive Officer of Tony Elumelu Foundation, said that GenU Nigeria was all about connectivity aimed at bringing together government, private sector and international development partners.
Ugochukwu said that the project was also aimed at bringing the youth together to create a Nigeria where they would be engaged as productive members of the society leveraging on digital technology.
“The aim is to ensure that young Nigerians have access to training and skills acquisition that will make them employable and also connect them to jobs.
“Nigeria has 65 million youth population; UNICEF, working with partners, has put in place an incisive digital protocol and landscape to ensure that GenU Nigeria reaches 20 million Nigerian youths with skills training by 2030.