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Youth empowerment: Nigeria, UNICEF inaugurate Generation Unlimited Programme

Joseph Oyekanmi

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The Nigerian Government and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, UNICEF has launched Generation Unlimited Programme (GenU) that targets 20 million youths in the country by 2030.

The scheme, which is offering expanded education, training and employment to youths from the ages of 10-24 years, is expected to positively impact the country’s future job growth enabling programmes.

Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo stated this on Monday in a message delivered at the official launch of the GenU programme in Nigeria, a global multi-sector partnership that was initially launched in September 2018, in collaboration with over 200 partners.

Spokesman to the Vice President, Laolu Akande said in a release that the programme has impacted more than 100 million young people globally through innovations and programmes in more than 40 countries across six continents.

“In line with its job creation agenda, the federal government has over the past few months engaged multilateral agencies and the private sector in creating special opportunities for young Nigerians.

“Besides, the opportunities created through the ongoing Economic Sustainability Plan, only last month, the administration in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP and other private sector partners announced a 20,000 yearly graduate job fellowship called the Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme, NJFP aimed at equipping young Nigerians with skills and experience required for the workplace.”

Vice President Osinbajo pointed out in his speech that “this program is important because it promises to provide 20 million Nigerians with digital skills, link them to entrepreneurial and other job opportunities and assist them in realizing their full potential.

“Over the next couple of years, we will provide digital learning, employment, entrepreneurship and engagement for and with 20 million young Nigerians.

“This process is not only significant for our socio-economic development as a nation in the coming years but also provides a learning asset for developing future job growth enabling programmes.

“Nigeria has one of the world’s largest young populations. And it bears repeating that our country’s youth is the nation’s present and indeed its future. The cost of failing to invest in them is quite simply, unimaginable.

“So, we are excited to be a part of the ambitious goal of reaching young Nigerians with this opportunity.

“The work is massive, and we know we cannot achieve this objective without strong partnerships.

“And so, the Presidency, the relevant Ministries and State Governments will be collaborating with Generation Unlimited Nigeria, the private sector, the international community and our young people themselves to make this a reality.”

Noting that GenU Nigeria would have three key components—Digital Skills Development, the Workforce Readiness Programme and Youth Engagement/Youth Employment, the Vice President said that the empowerment of female entrepreneurs is a major aspect of GenU Nigeria.

Prof. Osinbajo commended private sector partners such as Airtel, the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Jobberman Nigeria, amongst others, for their innovative work with young entrepreneurs throughout the country and their commitment to GenU Nigeria.

The introduction of GenU Nigeria is in collaboration with state governors, including Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos State; Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Kano State; Mr Godwin Obaseki, Edo State.

Development partners involved in the scheme include the UN Resident Coordinator; the African Development Bank, the German development agency, GIZ, the International Labour Organization, ILO, the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, the United States Aid Agency, USAID, and private sector organisations.

GenU Nigeria will be implemented in 12 states distributed across the six geo-political zones in the country.

The states are Kano and Kaduna, North-West; Lagos and Ogun, South -West; Borno and Bauchi, North- East; Ebonyi and Enugu, South-East; Niger and Benue, North- Central; and Rivers and Cross River, South-South.

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