The Federal Government has promised to continue to support development co-operation programme on Skills Initiative for Africa to ensure that all Nigerians are positively affected by its action.
2. This was disclosed by Engr. Babachir David Lawal, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation who was represented by Dr. Roy Ugo, Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Affairs Office at the opening of a two-day Consultative Meeting on Skills Initiative for Africa held in Abuja on 28th February, 2017 and hosted by NEPAD, Nigeria .
3. The Federal Government expects “continuous and unending relationship and regular interactions between NEPAD Nigeria and the Continental Office in attempt to attain socio-economic development in Nigeria.”
4. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation noted that the programme development cooperation on Skills Initiative for Africa is quite apt and timely to chart a new course in line with the current thinking of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration’s Agenda which accords priority to social policies that would provide opportunities and succor for millions of extremely poor Nigerians.
5. According to Engr Babachir Lawal, the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has provided social protection schemes such as Government and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), National Women Empowerment Fund (NAWEF), Conditional Cash Transfer Scheme, job creation programme known as N-Power, Home Grown School Feeding Programme.
6. In her opening remarks, Princess Gloria Akobundu, the National Coordinator / Chief Executive Officer, NEPAD , Nigeria hoped that the Consultative Meeting would hold with a resolve to move forward building new skills to creating windows of opportunities that are capable of absolving the skills as well as providing access to requisite tools and finance to support for entrepreneurial ventures.
7. In her own remarks, Mrs. Estherine Lisinge-Fotabong, the Director of Programmes and Coordination, NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, while painting the large and growing unemployment challenge facing Africa, said half of the population of Africa of 1.1 bilion people are under the age of 25 years and youths constitute 40% of working age and 60% of them are unemployed. With the daunting data, according to her, addressing the youth unemployment challenge would translate into sustaining the economies of Africa and building the character of the teeming young population.
8. Mrs. Lisinge-Fotabong said the German Government has been a true partner of Africa Union. And as the future rests on the youth of Africa continent, she said all should be done to reverse the trend of youth unemployment as Government cannot employ everyone. She said enabling environment should be created for the private sector to thrive to be able to absolve the youth who would later be able to employ themselves and others.
9. The Skills Initiative for Africa is an initiative of Africa Union Commission supported by the German Government to strengthen occupational prospects of young people. The Initiative is a financing facility for skills development to be implemented by NEPAD supported by German Development Bank. The skills initiated will provide support to Technical and Vocational Educational Training actors in selected pilot countries for strengthening skills development.
10. Nigeria is one of the pilot countries selected for the first phase of financing facility. Other countries in the pilot schemes are Cameroun, Kenya, South Africa and Tunisia.
Federal Ministry of Information & Culture
Radio House, Abuja