By Franca Ofili
The Minister of and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, says Federal Government will equip 200,000 youths with basic, intermediate and advance digital skills in the areas of web design and management, software training and cloud computing in the next two years.
Dare said this in Abuja at the 2019 Africa Youth Day celebration with the theme “ One Million by 2021, Count Me In.”
He said youths would also be equipped on Artificial Intelligence, App development, mobile device repairs, coding and data processing
The minister said that the African Union decided to dedicate one month this year to the commemoration of this important event.
Dare said it was driven by the desire to mobilise at least one million youths to be among one million Africans who would benefit from direct opportunities in the areas of Education, Employment, Entrepreneurship and Engagement (4Es).
He added that Nov. 1 was observed as African Youth Day, having been recognised and adopted in June 2006 by African Heads of Government at their meeting in Banjul, Gambia.
He explained that “it is important that governments in Africa continue to place the need for increased investments in youths on the front burner.
“I, therefore, commend the African Union for the theme ‘One Million by 2021, Count Me In’ as this will opens opportunities for young people to take personal stake in their development, and in a broader sense, that of the continent.”
He pointed out that in the past, many African governments in their quest for sustainable development invested substantially in infrastructure and economic reforms while paying little attention to the development of their human capital.
He said “decades of these investments still leave us in search of more effective ways to attain our development goals. For me, I believe the way to go is to tilt the scale.
“The cost implication of increasing investment in youth is minimal, when compared with the enormous resources most countries in Africa expend to mitigate the impact of poor investments in youths, peace, security and economies.
“Therefore, many experts believe that if not adequately harnessed, youths could become demographic time bomb rather than resource because a large mass of frustrated young people would likely become potential source of social and political instability.
“It is from this context that I commend the African Union for the theme,’’ Dare said.
According to the minister, it is double celebration in Nigeria as she uses the occasion to launch the pocket size National Youth Policy (NYP) and the National Youth Policy App.
He said the most important was the introduction of the NYP and the commencement of the new DEEL initiative for the Youths.
He explained that DEEL stands for Digital literacy and Skills Acquisition programme, E stands for Employment, L stands for Leadership and mentoring.
Dare said that the ministry would work toward sustaining an ecosystem of state and non-state actors in each thematic area of the National Youth Policy, which would evolve into the National Youth Policy Implementation Network.
He announced that the ministry would also activate its Youth Development Centres in the country for Entrepreneurship Skills training.
He said “today, we begin the new DEEL process through the Work Experience Programme (WEP)”, noting that the DEEl initiative would connect 5,000 unemployed graduates with employers by placing them in the corporate world on internship capacities for a short period in the next one year.
The Minister of State, Science and Technology, Malam Mohammed Abdullahi, said that the two ministries would collaborate to ensure that the country achieved its youths agenda.
Abdullahi said that the most important areas where any country could dedicate more work to achieve better development was communication and technology.
According to him, technology is one major area a country can use to assist youths to develop themselves.
He stressed that the country needed to look inward to solve youth’s problems.
The Minister of Woman Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, encouraged youths to embrace the Not-Too-Young- To-Run Act to understand what politics was all about.
Tallen said that the ministry would work to ensure that youths were carried along to enable them to achieve their goals.
The Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, said that the ministry would encourage youths in their long term development plan.
Agba advised the youths to inculcate the habit of good behaviour to move the country forward.