Bimbola Oyesola, 08033246177
The United Nations Environment-Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly (EBAFOSA) Nigeria has called for urgent collaboration between major stakeholders in the country to create 11 million jobs annually that will provide solutions to the rising unemployment rate in the country.
The national president of EBAFOSA, Mr. James Oyesola, who stated this recently at an inter-ministerial/agencies policy task force meeting in Abuja, explained that key stakeholders must operate in unison to address the challenges posed by climate change to facilitate creating jobs in the agricultural sector of the economy.
He added: “The key issue is that addressing climate change challenges, implementing SDGs and our nationally determine contributions, among others, can’t be implemented in ‘silos’. Therefore, there is need to bridge policy gaps by breaking inter-ministerial silos through convening policy makers in relevant line ministries of environment, agriculture, industry, energy, forestry, lands, trade, finance, etc, as well as non-state actors in policy research, etc, for collaborative policy processes.
“Also, to catalyse investment in clean energy-powered agro-industrialisation, agriculture policies will need to reconcile with industry policies, energy policies, lands policies and private investors to ensure relevant-cross cutting policies that incentivize investment by both state and non-state actors in plants and clean processing industries near high potential agro-production areas. Infrastructure policies need to be synchronised to ensure prioritised investments in rural roads for efficient connection of production areas or these agro-industrial zones to market areas.”
Earlier, in his presentation, providing more insights into the climate change challenges confronting Africa and Nigeria, UN Environment Africa Climate Change Coordinator, Dr. Richard Munang, lamented the ballooning youthful and unemployed population amid untapped opportunities.
“Where for every three million jobs, there are up to 12 million youth competing for them each year, right here in Nigeria, while 1.2 million fresh people joined the pool of job seekers in just one quarter of 2017, another 1.6 million who were in full-time employment lost their jobs in the same period. The implication is Nigeria may need to create up to 2.8 million jobs per quarter, which translates to about 11 million jobs each year. The implication is the urgent need to increase opportunities exponentially. Across Africa, this youth bulge has been christened a ticking time bomb.
“Yet, these youths represent the most sovereign capital we have as a continent – to tap and drive growth,” he explained.
The coordinator added: “Across Africa, such youths, already frustrated by the lack of opportunities, are risking it all – life, limb and dignity – on perilous journeys in search of elusive greener pastures in other continents.”
Munang explained that food insecurity has led to about 240 million people going to bed hungry every day in Africa, yet 65% of the global arable land is right here in Africa.
He said post-harvest losses on the continent have hit $48 billion each year, exceeding the $35 billion spent on imports, adding, “implying that reversing these losses will inject $83 billion in income, jobs & intra-Africa trade opportunities every year. Right here, Nigeria’s PHLs top $9 billion annually. This translates into not only lost food, but income, trading and job opportunities along the supply chain.”
The UNEP Africa coordinator noted that climate change is threatening to shrink productivity of most African economies by 75%.
“In Nigeria, climate change is projected to cost 6 – 30% of GDP by 2050, translating to $100 billion – $460 billion loss. The result is compounding all the dire socio-economic challenges already confronting the country,” he said.