In line with its Jobs for Youth in Africa (JfYA) Strategy to boost job creation and entrepreneurship across Africa, the African Development Bank held a breakfast session at the ongoing 24th Nigerian Economic Summit themed, “Education to Employment – Mind the Gap.”
The session was a joint event between the Bank, National Universities Commission (NUC), Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Siemens, GE, MasterCard Foundation, World Bank, and Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG).
is the Bank’s initiative to create 25 million jobs and empower 50 million youth in Africa with demand driven skills within 10 years (2016–2025). It was launched at the Bank’s Annual Meetings in May 2016 in Lusaka, Zambia with the aim of supporting African countries in scaling up responses to the youth unemployment and underemployment crisis.
The strategy responds to the transformational agenda laid out in the Bank’s Ten-Year Strategy (2013-2022), aligned with its High-5 priorities.
It is also in line with the vision of the Bank’s Human Capital Strategy (2014-2018) to ‘harness the potential of 1 billion Africans by building skills and promoting technologies to provide better jobs, ensure equal opportunities and increase workforce competitiveness.
The Bank seeks to achieve these through practical, high-impact solutions aimed at creating opportunities via education and training, transformative jobs and a business environment conducive to entrepreneurial activities.
The initial flagship programs set out to implement JfYA has selected three sectors with high potential for youth inclusion: agriculture, industrialization, and ICT. Some of the flagship programs being implemented by the Bank include Coding for Employment (CfE), Rural Microenterprise Flagship Program Model, ENABLE Youth (Empowering Novel Agri-Business Led Employment) program, and Skills Enhancement Zone Flagship Program Model, among others.
Unemployment rate in the country stands at 18.8%. Among the youth (15-35 years), the figure is significantly higher as combined unemployment and underemployment rate gross 22.64 million individuals, translating to 52.65% of the entire youth labour force i.e. people who are willing and able to work.
The rate of unemployment tends to be higher for people that have post-secondary school education – 31.8% unemployment rate and 50% combined unemployment and underemployment in Q3 2017. This is because graduates tend to prefer fewer in supply white-collar jobs rather than often rural, seasonal and low skilled-lower paying blue-collar jobs that are more in supply.
Participants touched on the need to revamp the curriculum in tertiary institutions to equip potential graduates and upskill graduates to meet current employment standards. Following discussions, there was an MoU–signing ceremony between the NESG and NUC to formalize private sector collaboration to revamp employability and entrepreneurship skills education, STEM and Engineering.
In his remarks, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, highlighted the urgent need for collaboration to tackle youth unemployment crisis in Nigeria.
“Insecurity challenges are symptoms of the dire state of unemployment and frustration of the Nigerian youth. The urgency to support job creation in Nigeria must be accompanied with the right synergies, as these problems cannot be solved in silos. The Ministry has committed to working with partners across the private, social and public sectors to create jobs for young Nigerians,” Ngige added.
Ebrima Faal, the Bank’s Senior Country Director-Nigeria said, “the Bank understands that partnerships and collaborations are the bedrock of success and the drivers of sustainable impact. Partnerships within and outside the private sector are already beginning to address some of the challenges within the unemployment space. We will continue to work to facilitate the partnerships necessary to deepen this impact through our Jobs for Youth in Africa (JfYA) initiative as we collaborate to solve the youth unemployment problem in Africa.”
NESG’s Chief Executive Officer, Laoye Jaiyeola added: The NESG has committed to pool all actors together under a collaborative model, to ensure that interventions are holistic and are of scale to address our challenges.
The signing of the MoU between the NESG and the NUC – the first of its kind in Nigeria signals a new way forward, one that entails collaboration and action on the skills development agenda,” he said.