The President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, has urged the Federal Government needs to stop its youth empowerment programmes and invest in the youth people of the nation on a sustainable basis.
Adesina said this at the inaugural lecture for the Nigeria’s President, Bola Tinubu, in Abuja.
He said, “Nigeria must create youth-based wealth. We must move away from the so-called youth empowerment programs
“Youths do not need handouts. They need investments. The current banking systems do not and will not lend to the youth. Special funds, while palliative in approach, are not systemic and are also not sustainable.
“What’s needed to unleash the entrepreneurship of the youth in Nigeria are brand new financial ecosystems that understand, value, promote and provide financial instruments and platforms for nurturing business ventures of the youth at scale.”
The AfDB boss also disclosed that the continental bank, in partnership with Agence Francaise de Developpement and the Islamic Development Bank had launched the $618 m I-DICE programme to develop digital and creative enterprises.
He said that the programme would create six million jobs and add $6.3bn to Nigeria’s economy.
He added that the bank was “currently working with Central Banks and countries to design and support the establishment of youth entrepreneurship investment banks.
“These will be new financial institutions, run by young, professional, and highly competent experts and bankers, to develop and deploy new financial products and services for businesses and ventures of young people.
“Several African counties plan to establish youth entrepreneurship investment banks. Nigeria should establish the youth entrepreneurship investment bank.”
He added, “The best asset of Nigeria is not its natural resources; Nigeria’s best asset is its human capital.
“We must invest heavily in human capital to build up the skills Nigeria needs to be globally competitive, in a rapidly digitised global economy.
“We must build world-class educational institutions, and accelerate skills development in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, as well as in ICT and computer coding, which will shape the jobs of the future.