Chairman of the United Bank of Africa (UBA) Mr Tony Elumelu has stressed the need to unlock the potential of youths in Africa, in order to catalyse the socio-economic development of the continent.
According to Elumelu, youth restiveness remains a ticking time-bomb in the continent, noting that countries in the region continue to face issues around extremism, banditry, robbery, senseless killing, kidnapping and political thuggery, among others.
The Founder of the Tony Elumelu foundation said this in an address he delivered to 21,000 youth at the Joshua generation international youth conference organised by the Anglican Church at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State.
Noting that youths of 35 years and under are estimated to constitute 70 per cent of the population of Nigeria, Elumelu said the jobless rate in Nigeria has now risen to about 30 per cent in March 2021.
“Some states have as high as 56 per cent of all their youth population as unemployed. In Africa, the situation is not much different: We have 65 per cent of all Africans below the age of 35 and many of these people are not gainfully employed.
Elumelu said there is need for a high sense of urgency, a dissatisfaction to what is happening presently as well as a commitment to improving things to address this challenge.
“We must accept that we face a crucial period in our history where youth issues must be the main and central issue of our time. Millions of our 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. Only about three million formal jobs are being created annually across Africa and this was even before the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic outbreak,” he added.