Nigeria’s minister of youth and sports development, Mr Sunday Dare, has urged governments, international organisations and the private sector to urgently provide credit and soft loans to youth-led businesses, saying youth Entrepreneurship is the solution to lift the youth and other segments of the population out of poverty and unemployment.
He spoke at the high level side event organised by Cape Verde, Nigeria and France at the ongoing 76th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.
“Entrepreneurship is an antidote against youth unemployment. Entrepreneurship amongst youth offers a sustainable path out of poverty and unemployment. No nation has been able to bring down its youth unemployment numbers without embarking on deliberate policies aimed at providing credit and opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs to grow,” Dare said.
According to him, the COVID-19 pandemic created a new economic trajectory where youth became an important component leveraging on technology as an enabler.
“Technology has changed the way we do business forever due to covid-19 pandemic. We continue to see an enabler seized upon by the youth. COVID-19 innovation challenge, is a unique platform that empowers youth to offer solutions to the impact of the pandemic. Harnessing technology in various sectors – financial, commerce, service delivery, medicine and digital marketing.”
“Nigeria under the watchful eyes of President Muhammadu Buhari launched the strategic intervention initiative called the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) to the tune of 2.3 trillion naira. This was a national stimulus plan which had at its core social welfare packages, survival funds to households, small businesses and the old and vulnerable.The Youth and Women were not left out,“ he said.
Drawing from experiences across Nigeria and the continent, the minister declared that nations will increasingly depend on the youth to meet the challenges of a post Covid 19 era.
“Nigeria and indeed the world will rely increasingly on its youth population to develop smart products and solutions to conquer the challenges and problems of climate change and economic slowdown. “If nothing at all, we must continue to use technology as an enabler, have the government become an enabler and push our youth on the path of entrepreneurship by offering them digital alike and access to finance.”