The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has emphasized the need for Nigeria to invest in its youths.
Adesina submitted further that the old must consciously give way to the young through a process of generational transfer of power.
The AfDB president pointed out that the youths represent the future of the country and a situation where most of them are discouraged and restless is not a good thing for the country.
Naija News reports Dr. Adesina made the submissions in Lagos State during a lecture, titled, “Nigeria – A Country of Many Nations: A Quest for National Integration”
He said a situation where up to 40 percent of Nigerian youths are unemployed does not speak well for the future of the country as it has made the youths hopeless.
To correct the challenges, the AfDB president called for skills to be skilled and empowered so they can create wealth and become positive agents of change.
Adesina said: “For Nigeria to be all that it can be, the youth of Nigeria must be all they can be.
“The future of Nigeria depends on what it does today with its dynamic youth population. This demographic advantage must be turned into a first-rate and well-trained workforce, for Nigeria, for the region, and for the world.
“We should prioritise investments in the youth: in up skilling them for the jobs of the future, not the jobs of the past; by moving away from so-called youth empowerment to youth investment; to opening up the social and political space to the youth to air their views and become a positive force for national development; and for ensuring that we create youth-based wealth.
“From the East to the West, from the North to the South, there must be a change in economic, financial, and business opportunities for young Nigerians.
“The old must give way to the young. And there must be a corresponding generational transfer of power and wealth to the youth. The popular folk talk should no longer be “the young shall grow,” it should, rather, be: “the young have arrived.”
“The young shoots are springing up in Nigeria. Today, Nigeria’s youth are leading in the FinTech Industry. two companies – PayPal Interswitch are both valued at $1 billion.
“A third company, Flutterwave, more than tripled its valuation in less than a year to over $3 billion. What does this tell us? The future is here and young entrepreneurs are central to it.
“The African Development Bank approved $170 million in December of last year for Nigeria to support its programme to expand digital and creative industries, by unleashing the incredible entrepreneurship of Nigeria’s youth.
“The African Development Bank is also exploring the establishment of Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks — financial institutions for young people, run by first-rate young bankers and financial experts, to drive youth-wealth creation.
“Nigerians deserve wealth, not poverty. There cannot and should not be a Nigeria for the rich, and another Nigeria for the poor.
“We must build one Nigeria, where every citizen has the right to a decent life. We must build a better nation. We must start building again, not splintering again.
“We must re-build trust, equity, and social justice, to propel strong cohesiveness as a nation. The tides are high, I know, and our boat rocks from time to time. Yet, I have hope, hope for a better Nigeria … a renewed nation. Hope for a nation that is helped and healed by God. A nation, where the sacrifices of Nigerians past and present shall not be in vain.
“I pray and long for a better Nigeria. For a nation, built not on the division of its past, or the foundations of ethnicity, but on a new foundation, the foundation of equity, fairness, justice, and unity, one Nigerian to the other.