BY ROYAL IBEH, Lagos
Five companies have joined forces under the Global Alliance for Youth to tackle youth unemployment in Nigeria even as the the world marks the 2021 International Youth Day.
With 62 per cent of the Nigerian population below age 25 years, Nigeria has one of the highest youth population in the world. According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, as of the second quarter of 2020, over 13.9 million young Nigerians were unemployed. Millions are also underemployed or in uncertain jobs.
The Global Alliance for Youth Nigeria, a business-driven movement of like-minded organizations passionate about working together to help young people around the country get the necessary skills to thrive in the world of work, today and tomorrow, was formed to stem the high rate of youth unemployment in Nigeria.
The Alliance plans to reach more than 250,000 young Nigerians with employability and entrepreneurial skills to enable them get gainful employment or set up businesses of their own within the next three years.
Members of the Alliance are Nestlé Nigeria, Jobberman Nigeria, Sterling One Foundation, Big Bottling Company and the United Nations Global Compact.
Managing director and CEO, Nestlé Nigeria PLC, Wassim Elhusseini, at the press conference to launch the Alliance, said: “we are excited to announce the Global Alliance for Youth Nigeria today. If there was a time where an alliance for youth is needed, it is today. Yes, our youth are confronted with multiple challenges, but the critical challenge is that of a lack of opportunities.
“Our youth have great potential, and those who have been privileged to find the right opportunities have thrived in remarkable ways. This is what this alliance seeks to do, to create the opportunities for our youth to attain their highest potential as productive and contributive members of society.”
According to HR manager, the Big Bottling Company, Norena Francis, “the youths are the future of the world, but the future is now, it therefore means that the youths are the now of the world and as such, deliberate actions to make the now happen to the benefit of all of mankind is vital. Hence, we join the rest of the world in celebrating this year’s International Youth Day.”
CEO, Jobberman Nigeria, Rolake Rosiji, stressed that, “we are excited to be a part of the Alliance to tackle the employment and employability challenge in Nigeria today. Through the Alliance, youth will gain access to high-quality trainings, and will be able to gain the critical skills needed to swiftly enter the workforce, as well as grow in their respective fields.”
In her comment, the executive director, UN Global Compact Network Nigeria, Naomi Nwokolo, said, “It is no longer fashionable to ignore the youth, never has it been. The time is now for all stakeholders (government, private sector and civil societies) to pivot towards harnessing the powers and potentials of the youth demographic. Our participation, which we are proud of, as a member of the Global Alliance for Youth is a clear statement of our intent to engage with the private sector to further entrench the corporate sustainability agenda particularly in the areas of Women and Youth inclusion, Sustainable Innovation, Decent Work and Economic Growth”.