Every year, thousands of youth enter the labour market without any assurance of finding gainful employment. This issue has remained a cause for worry, most especially in developing countries like Nigeria, given that employment is a marker for progress in any thriving economy. With the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy, the situation has become more alarming as various sectors of the economy and industries including the financial and technology industries have been greatly affected. Although one of the prime objectives of current national reform policies such as National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategies (NEEDS) is to develop with immediacy, diverse opportunities in education, health, and other sectors, as well as to ensure the creation of more jobs, levels of unemployment are still alarmingly high.
Mrs.Onyinye Ikenna-Emeka, General Manager, Enterprise Marketing, MTN Nigeria, noted that a huge part of the unemployment problem in Nigeria is the low rate of skilled people in the country. She said that, ‘A lot of people are not employable because they do not have the right skills for the respective jobs.’ She therefore, pointed out the need for technical and digital skills training for Nigerian youth, in order to readily position them for the jobs in the fourth industrial revolution.
Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu, Special Adviser to the Nigerian President for Economic matters, speaking at an event, disclosed that the Federal Government has shown its commitment to addressing the issue of unemployment in the country, by focusing on technology and innovations. The Economic Adviser also revealed that the government will continue to uncover and exploit more development opportunities for Nigerians through cooperation and technical backstopping with international leaders across the globe, to ensure that professionals and creative minds are able to access latest technologies, innovations and opportunities.
As aforementioned, one of the greatest impediments to the socio-economic development of the country is the ever-increasing rate of unemployment, and earlier optimistic predictions about the capacity of the modern industrial sector of the country to absorb the increasing number of both urban and rural unemployed labour force, is yet to be realized.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, during a virtual courtesy call from Huawei Nigeria, stated that the idea behind the alliance forged between the FG and technology companies is to develop an enabling environment for competent youth to find work in the tech service sector and also outsource their expertise abroad.
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The Vice President in his statement said that ‘I think that Huawei and the Federal Government should work as partners, not just a business relationship, but a relationship that also takes employment into account, especially with our young population.’ He praised the past work Huawei had done in training Nigerians but stressed the need for employment opportunities that go beyond the capacity building. He also added, ‘I want us to do something groundbreaking and different.’ In response to this, Trevor Liu, CEO of Huawei Nigeria, said that the approach of the company is to focus on investing in young people in every country they operate, also noting that the company has invested in a lot of youth in Nigerians, but is committed to doing more. He assured the FG that Huawei would commit more resources in young people, while stating that it’s the plan of the company to position Nigeria as a technology centre for the continent.
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