The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has launched the Generation Unlimited initiative, a global multisector partnership aimed at supporting the over 1.8 billion youth globally with relevant and future-proof skills.
Generation Unlimited is an initiative between the Federal government and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), offering expanded education, training, and employment, targeting 20 million Nigerians from ages of 10-24 years.
At the launching in Abuja, the vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo said the program would 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 are the nation’s present and indeed it’s future. The cost of failing to invest in them is quite simply, unimaginable.”
The Vice president noted that GenU would have three key components, digital skill development, the workforce readiness programme and youth engagement.
On his part the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Country representative Nigeria, Peter Hawkins observed that the Nigerian youths face many economic, social and cultural challenges which are more acute for young people in disadvantaged communities.
“And with Nigeria having 65.6 million people aged 10-24, Nigeria has one of the largest young populations in the world, representing an extraordinary opportunity for development and growth.”
” Nigeria’s unemployment rate is 23 per cent, among the highest in sub-Saharan Africa, with youth unemployment at 37 percent, almost double that of the national rate,”.he said.
“Nigeria, being the largest African economy has one of the largest young populations in the world, and youth unemployment at 37%. This represents an extraordinary opportunity for development and growth.”
“In 2020, Gen U Nigeria conducted a country investment agenda to help all stakeholders understand the missing Opportunities in the continuum of how young people are equipped and enabled to become productive and engaged citizens in society through formal and informal learning.”
Mr Peter Hawkins observed that Technological changes are making many jobs vulnerable to automation and a large portion of job creation was driven by entrepreneurs and small businesses, while education systems are outdated and fragmented.
GenU Nigeria will be implemented in 12 states distributed across the 6 geo-political zones in the country. In the North-west, Kano and Kaduna States; South-west, Lagos and Ogun States; North-east, Borno and Bauchi States; South-east, Ebonyi and Enugu States; North-central, Niger and Benue States and from the South-south, Rivers and Cross River States.
Dignitaries present at the launch include Alhaji Abdullahi Ganduje, Governor of Kano State; Deputy Governor of Edo State, Comrade Philip Shuaibu; Minister of State for Science and Technology, Alhaji Mohammed Abdullahi, and Lagos State Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr Segun Dawodu, who represented the State Governor.