Stakeholders in government and private sectors have come to the conclusion that African youth still have the skills to lead the world despite the challenges facing them.
The stakeholders comprising the Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Lagos State Government, FATE Foundation, Heritage Bank Plc spoke at the 11th edition of the Leadership Excellence for National Development (LEND) webinar organised by the JCI Nigeria Senate Association.
The event themed: ‘Building emerging leaders for Africa & Middle East’ was held at Eko Hotel and Suite, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Speaking on the topic, ‘Leadership, Youth, Entrepreneurship and Regional Cooperation’, Vice President, ECOWAS, Finda Koroma noted that there is an urgent need to create opportunities for youth, to drive inclusive growth and turn Africa’s demographic dividend into an economic opportunity.
She said: “It is clear that the challenges that young people of today face are overbearing and intimidating. However, in the midst of these challenges, I believe there is an opportunity to transform youthful energy into value, through commitments that build the capacity of our youth to be useful resources for our continent, especially with the full leverage of contemporary technology and entrepreneurship capacity.
“African youths of today face roughly double the unemployment rate of adults, with significant variations by country. This problem is not just unemployment but underemployment, which peaks at just over half of youth in the labor force in developing economies. These prevailing circumstances are limiting the ability of our youth to fully realize their potentials and exposing a section of them to social vices such as drug abuse, crime, irregular migration and violent extremism.”
According to her, we have in our hands the most priced asset of being the youngest continent in the world, which means we stand the chance of being the source of workforce, industry and leadership for the world now and in the near future.
Charging the youths, the Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote, said, “the youth constitute more than half of Nigeria’s population and it is important that we develop new strategies to connect with the current set of youths and attract them into the fold of Junior
“I have noticed similar issues with other groups such as the Scouts, the Rotaract, and others. We need to utilise other means of reaching out such as the social media and the endorsement of our A-listed musicians – some of whom may be willing to offer the endorsement service without charge.” Other speakers include Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Adebisi Shonub; Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on SDGs & Investments & Acting Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Solape Hammond; JCI Nigeria Senate Association Chairperson, Senator, Nneka Itabor; Executive Director FATE Foundation, Mrs. Adenike Adeyemi.