African Union Commission and a Non-governmental organisation, Golden Heart Foundation have concluded plans to provide jobs and other forms of empowerment for Ebonyi indigenes and others residing in the state to redirect the minds of youths from crimes.
According to them, through empowerment, the youth will become entrepreneurs and self-reliant.
The Chairman of the African Union 6th Region, Dr Macaulay Kalu, stated this at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abakaliki during the Grand Finale of a 3-Day Mentorship Master Class, with the theme, “Ebonyi Youths Project”.
According to Kalu, the issue of unemployment ravaging the African continent would be a thing of the past if the potentiality of the 65% of the African population being youths of 35 years were harnessed and deployed into meaningful ventures.
He then urged the leaders of the country to present the group with a level playing field to engage the youth and end insecurity which is caused by the high rate of unemployment in the nation.
According to him, “1n 2019, the African Union launched an initiative after a lot of assessment consultations concerning the challenges of the region. The population of the continent of Africa is more of youths. We have 65% of the population under 35 years. That makes Africa the most populated continent in terms of youth. That’s what we call an asset (human capital asset).
“Well, one of the assignments I have from what the African Union launched, is to create one million jobs by 2021. It’s called 1 million Jobs 2021-Initiative, and so if the Ebonyi State and Nigeria present us a level-playing field, that one million jobs could be created in the country. The country is big enough for one million jobs. The level of insecurity as we witnessed in the country now is because of unemployment. So, if we can get our youths engaged doing something worthwhile and provide a support system for them, there would be little or no insecurity in the land.
“With that, the continent, through the African Union Commission has been doing a lot to see what it can do in solving this unemployment situation among the youth.
“I had the opportunity as a Nigerian myself, having the privilege of connecting the diaspora community with what is going on in the continent because a lot of our young people are really going through a lot. A point in question is how so many of them are crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Europe, through Panama to US and this has been deadly. It calls for so much attention around the world.
“Having said this, with infrastructure on the ground in Ebonyi State, we just need to balance it up with human capital development and then put a support system, that will make all this work well.”
In his remarks, the State Coordinator, Ebonyi Golden Heart Foundation, Mr Chukwudi Abana, said the masterclass was geared towards creating jobs through human capital development, training and mentorship of Ebonyi youths.
“The mentorship masterclass for this year has in attendance entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, business people, civil servants and students from the entire 13 local government area of the state with a minimum of 12 participants selected from each local government area.
“This masterclass has created a mind-shift, exposing global opportunities that exist and how Ebonyi indigenes can cash into them.
“Golden Heart Foundation has been in the forefront of national transformation and human capital development especially amongst the youth in Nigeria and Africa, for the past 15 years.”
One of the participants, Mrs Laura Amanze appreciated the opportunity of being part of the training and empowerment exercise in the state.
She noted: “This is not the usual training of just give people money. We have been for the past three days and there are still more phases to come. It will address certain anomalies in the society in many ways. People have this notion that all they need is money to succeed in life without having a laid down plan as to if you are given money and how you are going to utilize it.
“So there is this paradigm shift in the minds of youths. The idea is not money first but human capital development. Money should be answerable to you and not you answerable to money.”
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