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INTRODUCTION Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the eighth most populous country in the world with a population of 154, 729,000 citizens. Our nominal GDP is $207. 116 billion and we have a nominal per capita income of $1,4011. Nigeria also has the second largest economy in Africa . If I may ask, is this country not blessed? Yet, it is still plagued by youth unemployment which had been one of our major problems in recent years. Both government and the private sector had discussed this issue at forums and conferences but have not found a solution to it. Its continued existence had been linked to lack of power supply and financial empowerment for youths. Youth unemployment in Nigeria is mostly referred to as graduate unemployment and this means that only the skilled youths are seen as unemployed while the unskilled youths are not given any consideration. However, youths are not a homogeneous group and their employment prospects differ according to numerous factors ranging from region to gender to schooling. As I write this paper, there are thousands of youths in Nigeria that are unemployed and it is as if there won’t be a solution to this problem.
THE EFFECTS OF YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT ON NIGERIA Various crimes and social vices in Nigeria had been on the increase since mid – 1990s2 and they include prostitution, internet scam, political violence, kidnapping, militancy (in the Niger Delta), drug trafficking, armed robbery etc. The continued existence of these vices has been linked to the scarcity of jobs in Nigeria .
5 THE LESSONS FROM EXPERIENCE Although I’m not an entrepreneur but I gained some experiences on entrepreneurship from a group I joined in my university more than a year ago. kidnapping and other vices had also been increasing recently. for instance. Due to this peculiarity. we educated about 300 undergraduates on the benefits of self – employment and the ethics of business. Some youths go up to the extent of getting a post graduate degree but they still don’t get a job. we did some entrepreneurial projects and I would like to share them briefly.Prostitution. In the first phase. it is always a very difficult race with experienced adults. CHALLENGES YOUTH FACE IN THE LABOUR MARKET In Nigeria. For most graduate youth who have nothing more than what they have learnt in school.3 Internet scam had also been on the increase in recent years. in collaboration with a commercial bank in Nigeria (Guaranty Trust Bank). rose during the mid – 1990s with female Nigerian youths being trafficked to Italy. Political violence. who are mostly migrants from rural areas that are more affected by this situation. we partnered also with the GREEN project (an NGO owned by a member of our team) and we taught about 50 secondary school students the qualities of a good business leader. Secondly.4 It is the unskilled youth. Firstly. we did a project called Making CEO. we identified that our university is one of the few universities in Nigeria that offers Industrial Design. The name of the group is SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise). In the second phase. it is common practice for employers to ask for work experience before employment. These vices have a negative effect on the country because they have been the fear of most foreign investors and they are also giving the country a bad reputation internationally. these students might face . Last year.
I visited the closest HANDEF (Handicapped Education Foundation) centre to my university and I learnt that most of the . For this reason. To avoid this. The following are the lessons that I learnt as a volunteer: Workshop and Seminars are one of the best ways to educate young people (youth). It is better done than said.ostracism in the labor market after school.WHAT HOPE FOR THE PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED YOUTHS? The physically challenged account for about 5% of Africans (1% of Africans are blind)6 and Nigeria as well as her youths are not left out. Knowledge gained from workshops and seminars could be used by participants at any point of their lives. With the training at hand. The media is the best way to get to the people. No knowledge is lost. we decided to educate interested students of this department the practical application of their course using computer graphical application like Corel Draw. Youths should be taught financial literacy at a more tender age. some of them could open an art studio or a photography shop if they are unable to get a job after school. MY PERSONAL PROJECTS . Things look easy when they are said but it is only when we make moves to actualize them that we realize their complexities. the constraints involved and the possible outcomes.
The government is working hard to solve this problem with four schools already in place in the state that trains them up to the university level. little results had been achieved from these great efforts. . My team could gather lots of PWS and bring the researcher to a workshop to train unemployed youths the methodology of changing these wastes to wealth.challenges they face are rejection and deprivation.WASTES TO WEALTH Most drainage systems in Nigeria are blocked by pure water sachet (PWS) and other non – biodegradable items. . After the workshop. most of them end up on the street begging. and these have a psychological effect on them. lubricating grease. From my observation. No wonder. the government and the private sector should be involved in solving this problem. A research7 has shown that PWS could be used in making candles. shoe polish and other products. The sad part of the story is that most of these physically challenged people are youths. PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS I think the youths. This blockage has led to water logging on the street of most cities in Nigeria especially Lagos . the youths could be given loans for start ups by the government while my team could do the mentoring and evaluation to safeguard the loan. because I have not seen any physically challenged person working in a bank or even in a government institution like the post office.
I propose that the government gives my team an airtime to broadcast a weekly Business Idea Competition on the local radio. this is not absolutely true. But in the real sense. The government would later give loan to the overall winner of the month and consolation prizes to the weekly winners. Therefore. . At intervals of the program. If the solar cookers are sold to rural dwellers.THE PIGGY BANK ACCOUNT Most unemployed youths’ complain is the lack of start up capital. The mentoring and evaluation for the loan receiver would be conducted by team so the loan could be recovered. I realized that it is not so difficult to get loans for business start ups but must people are ignorant of this fact. The account would be different from a normal bank account in the sense that they can only deposit but can not withdraw (except . because there are times in our lives especially undergraduates that we have surplus of funds but end up squandering them. we would analyze the benefits of acquiring loans from the government and how loans could expand small businesses.TRAINING FOR UNEMPLOYED YOUTHS WITH TECHNICAL SKILLS Unemployed youths that have technical skills could get training on the development of solar cookers. . This training segment of the project could be carried out by my team in collaboration with the government and private sector. solar panels and lead acid ( accumulator) inverter which has zero carbon emission compared to local stoves and generator.. there would be a reduction in deforestation. The competition would be opened to unemployed youths between the ages of 18 and 25 and it would be judged by business executives.THE USE OF THE MEDIA From my experience as a volunteer. I propose that undergraduates in my school open a piggy bank account with my team where they save a stipulated amount of money twice a month.
After their training. polio. This exercise would be called the Work Corps. the United Kingdom and the United States of America . An intermediate person would be involved (may be a lawyer or a staff in the university) and the three parties would have an account record that shows how much had been saved. The truth is. and malaria to rural dwellers that are mostly affected by these problems. This is far too high when compared to developed countries like Sweden . My team would assist in the training alongside different tutors from the government and the private sector.5 per 1. The account holder would also be obliged to attend my team’s workshop and seminars on entrepreneurship. the money he had saved would then be given to him to start a business of his choice. During the year of training. there is a compulsory one year service for every tertiary institution graduates in which they are asked to serve the government. . This problem could be place under control if my proposal could be followed. the youth would spread the message of infant mortality. This project would add values to the lives of the participants. and with the knowledge he had gathered from our workshops and seminars. beneficiaries and solve the problem of youth unemployment. Neither my team nor the intermediate person would have a stake in the money. We also help in building a sustainability plan for the project. In Nigeria .the account holder is no longer interested in operating the account). .HEALING THE SOCIETAL ILLS Nigeria is faced with critical issues like infant mortality (which is 95. he would prepare his mind to think big. infant mortality among others. this kind of business might not be massive but it would sustain the person involved. This exercise is called National Service Youth Corps. Upon completion of the student’s education. Switzerland . This model could also be adopted for unemployed youths where they would undergo a year of entrepreneurship training alongside humanitarian training.000 live birth)8. the youths would be given a certificate of entrepreneurship and service. and they would be given allowances to start up their own business.
we could also organize a competition for all the secondary schools that we have taken the MAKING CEO project to..TRAINING THE YOUNG MINDS From the experience I shared earlier about the project we did with secondary school students. lead. educating the student on how to become business leaders. my team could educate unemployed youths to start the cultivation of agricultural resources like banana. then we would successfully increase the GDP of the state and also that of Nigeria . and the winner would be published in the state newspaper. I believe that the project could be expanded if my team could get adequate support from the government and the private sector. cocoa etc. The competition would involve the exchange of business ideas between competitors and exhibition of entrepreneurial projects. With this. Besides. We could later invite foreign investors to invest in the lucrative venture. and then push it to the policy makers of the state to support mechanized farming which would help these young farmers improve their farm produce. Couple of years after this successful project with the State Government. we could then move a motion to the Federal Government to invest in the exploitation of mineral resources like bauxite. .USING OTHER RESOURCES Nigeria ’s dependence on oil revenues is also one of the major causes of youth unemployment and youth unrest in the country. As . tantalite. thereby making the government create more jobs. tin. zinc etc which are in abundance in the country. plantain. These produce could then be exported out of the country. In view of this. we have given a forehand knowledge of entrepreneurship to children and they would be able to face the challenges ahead.
GET THE YOUTHS ALREADY IN BUSINESS I believe that with my team’s collaboration with the State Government. a website should be created for potential buyers who were not able to purchase items on display during the trade fair. . Even the visually impaired could go into this business since they won’t be left alone without an assistant. with the Federal Government. bring experienced wedding planners) and lead a campaign against the discrimination of physically challenged people in our community. we could organize a trade fair for youths whose businesses are not thriving. In addition. My team would help in part of the training (i. I propose that the physically challenged youths could be trained how to organize bridal arrangements. .A BETTER LIFE FOR THE PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED YOUTHS From my experience with HANDEF. This business is one of the fastest rising businesses in Nigeria .e. we would make sure the 70% of the employees in this industry are youths.part of our negotiation. The trade fair would be statewide (and broadcasted on the State Television) and it would be organized at the state trade fair complex and other strategic places like the universities and the local markets. I would sincerely say that a lot had been done by this people but there is nothing good that cannot be improved. This could be coupled with fashion designing. hat making and bead making which I was told were the vocational training they get. plan a wedding and other events. .
edu/artsci/wms/hughes/italy. Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation. illegal migration to European countries. That was why I illustrated how we could work with the government and private sector in solving this problem. kidnapping of oil workers. if youth alone could solve the problem of youth unemployment.htm) 4. ‘Employment: Why postgraduate qualification may . then we won’t only say goodbye to youth unemployment but also solve the problem of drug trafficking to foreign countries (especially Asia and South America). REFERENCES 1. then it wouldn’t have occurred in the first place. to do what we have written. as youths. prostitution by female Nigerian youths on the streets of Milan and Rome. Wikipedia (http://en. internet scam etc which youth unemployment in Nigeria had inflicted on the world.wikipedia.CONCLUSION The truth is. If the essence of this essay competition is for us.uri. Microsoft Encarta Premium 2009 3. Nnaemeka Meribe.org/wiki/Nigeria) 2. Italy (http://www. pipeline vandalism. Nigeria Article.
Youth and Employment in Africa : The Potential. The Punch.worldbank. 10 March 2010 . the problem. p.html) 7.pdf) 8.not be an advantage’. The World Almanac and Book of Facts2008.unilorin.24 5.805 . Nigeria : Disabled. Physically Challenged or Differently Abled (http://allafrica.edu.org/INTAFRICA/Resources/ADI_Youth_Employmen t_summary. Hot stuffs: The Power of Mind over Matter (http://www. Making Stuffs.ng/unilorin/inaugural-lectures/Making-Stuff-Hot.com/stories/200804220497. p.pdf) 6. the promise (http://siteresources.