From Uche Usim, Abuja
President, African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina on Wednesday advised the Federal Government to urgently empower the youths by enacting bold policies to guarantee their global competitiveness; as addiction to crude oil receipts remain injurious because future billionaires can no longer spring from that sector currently in its twilight.
Adesina gave the charge at the Joshua Generation International Youth Conference with the theme “Living with a Purpose.”
The former Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development challenged the government to do everything possible to reinvent itself by focusing on the youth, who represent the future of the country.
He listed troubling blights plaguing Nigerian youths to include; unemployment, limited technical and vocational skills, limited inclusion in social and political space, and lack of financing for ventures and businesses.
The AfDB boss added that Nigeria, with a population of 206 million people, out of which 70 percent are under the age of 30 years, should look into youth matters to secure a better tomorrow for the country and continent.
Be said: “The greater wealth of Africa, and of course Nigeria, will come from the youth. I know there are several misconceptions about the youth. I don’t understand why, because I was once a youth myself.
“The youth are not the problem of Nigeria; the youth are the assets of Nigeria. We must not relegate the youth to the background; we must put the youth in the fore.
“As a nation, Nigeria must do all possible to reinvent itself by focusing on the youth. Yet Nigeria’s youth face several challenges, including unemployment, limited technical and vocational skills, limited inclusion in social and political space, and lack of financing for ventures and businesses. Nigeria must embark on bolder measures to grow its youth into a well-trained globally competitive workforce.
“The youth do not need empowerment. Look around, often those who say they are empowering them are actually simply empowering themselves.