By Princess-Ekwi Ajide, Abuja
About 100,000 Nigerian youths in the next five years, are to benefit from the Nigeria Jubilee Fellowship Programme (NJFP), a collaborative initiative between the Nigerian Government and key stakeholders to build a reservoir of innovative and employable skills in the country, by placing smart young graduates in a paid 1-year internships in companies across the country.
Stakeholders at a Conference hosted by European Business Chambers in Nigeria (Eurocham) in Lagos, sought ways to raise the country’s stock of human capital and enhance employability and economic growth.
European businesses operating in Nigeria and the European Union Delegation are stepping up collaboration towards helping to address the skills gap in the employment sector and leveraging Nigeria’s huge population of young people to drive economic prosperity.
THE EUROPEAN UNION, WHICH IS NIGERIA’S BIGGEST TRADING PARTNER, WITH TRADES VALUED AT ABOUT 29 BILLION EUROS A YEAR AND A BALANCE, WHICH IS SIGNIFICANTLY IN FAVOUR OF NIGERIA, HAVE CONTINUED TO PLAY LEADING ROLES IN NIGERIA’S ECONOMY, PROVIDING JOBS, CREATING VALUES AND CONTRIBUTING TO THE COUNTRY’S ECONOMY IN A POSITIVE, SUSTAINABLE MANNER.
Speaking at the event, tagged “Youths, Education, Employment and Skills”, the European Union Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms Samuela Isopi, said Youth, Education, Employability and Skills (YEES!) are also a top concern and top priority for the European Union, both internally and in its cooperation with partner countries.
Ambassador Isopi, who is also the Honorary President of Eurocham Nigeria, described human capital as key to Nigeria’s development, saying the EU, its Member States and EU businesses recognised this in their engagements with the country.
According to her, the number of young Nigerians awarded scholarships under Erasmus+, the EU’s flagship programme for education, training and youth development, has quadrupled in the last four years, rising to over 200 in 2022, and making Nigeria the country with the second highest number of Erasmus+ scholarships worldwide.
WITH YOUNG PEOPLE MAKING UP 70% OF NIGERIA’S POPULATION, THE EU HAS PRIORITISED THE YOUTH ACROSS ALL AREAS OF ITS COOPERATION WITH THE NIGERIA, INCLUDING “INVESTING IN YOUNG BUSINESSES IN AFRICA” (IYBA) LAUNCHED IN NIGERIA LAST YEAR, UNDER WHICH THE EU IS ROLLING OUT A NUMBER OF REGIONAL AND NATIONAL PROJECTS AIMED AT ENHANCING JOB CREATION FOR THE YOUTH, ENHANCE THEIR EMPLOYABILITY AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP.
Also recognising that youth empowerment is critical in the perspective of the coming general elections, the EU has put the youth and their role in democratic governance first, through programmes aimed at mobilizing Nigerian youths to register and vote in the elections
From 18 companies at inception, Eurocham Nigeria, was formed in 2018 to give a common voice to European businesses so it can together with the EU Delegation, serve as a platform for engaging with the Nigeria authorities on issues that impact on businesses