By Henry Uche, Lagos
In a bid to reduce unemployment in Nigeria, MasterCard Foundation (the initiator of Young Africa Works); in collaboration with Enterprise Development Centre(of Pan-Atlantic University); Transforming Nigeria Youths; National Directorate of Employment, NDE; National Youths Service Corps, NYSC and Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) are set to create about 200, 000 jobs in the country in the next five years.
At a media brief in Lagos, the Director, EDC, Peter Bankole, said the opportunity is open to Youth between the ages of 18-35, who are residents in Lagos, Kaduna and Kano and must have a going concern.
According to him, budding entrepreneurs in the Agricultural and Creative sector can access sme2kid.ng with their smartphones and undergo a three months training which is followed by a screening process for the selection of the finalists, while those without smartphones can register online (reg.smetookid.ng/betransformed) and use a generated code to explore the opportunity.
‘We are more interested in non-graduates, so long as you can read and write. The training session is free and designed even in pidgin English. Very soon, the training would be communicated in Igbo and Yoruba languages. Once a trainee makes it to the final, he/she have our funding, mentorship and other packages,’ he affirmed.
He added that as the group creates 200,000, jobs, beneficiaries too will create another 800,000 jobs, that’s if each of them employs four (4) persons. ‘As we add value to them, they equally add value to the society by creating more jobs. For us at EDC and our partners, we target 10 million Jobs in 10 years for Nigerians,’ he assured.
Speaking at the event, the country Head- Nigeria, for MasterCard Foundation, Chidinma, Lawanson, said the aim of the opportunity was to make teeming youths not only self-employed but employers of labour.
According to her, the Foundation with its partners have targeted 30 million jobs creation in Africa by 2030, but 70 per cent of opportunities would be given to women.
‘We want to unlock work opportunities which we termed “Dignified and fulfilling work”, with a target of 30 million young Africans between the ages of 15 to 35 by 2030 and 10 million for Nigerians. We have over 21 Partners who are interested in ICT, Agro, financing etc. We operating in seven (7) African countries. Our financial Partners like LSETF offers loans at 9% interest per annum,’ she maintained.
For the Lagos State Coordinator, NDE, Sevena Olayebi-Edward, collaborating with LSETF and other Partners, as well as follow up and monitoring beneficiaries of opportunities like these is Paramount.
To the deputy director, Skills Acquisition and entrepreneurship development department, NYSC, Rachael Idaewor, stressed that extending such opportunities to other states with a sensitisation program for Heads of Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) would go a long way to reduce unemployment across board.
On her part, the executive secretary, LSETF, Teju Abisoye, asseverated that bankrolling credible budding entrepreneurs recommended by MasterCard Foundation and other Capacity building Institutions is a must-do, with cash loans of N50,000 to N5 million. ‘We must support MSMEs as we have always done. We shall continue to collaborate with Transforming Nigeria Youths Program and others,’ she averred.
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