Africa, United States of America – Mr Anthony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of States says investing in youths, especially the African young generations is the best deal for the U.S, Nigerian and other governments.
Blinken made this known during a virtual interview with newsmen as part of his activities of virtual visit to Africa on Tuesday, an initiative of the Biden-[ed administration to strengthen relations with Africa.
Hinged of the fact that the wealth of a nation rest greatly on its human resources, Blinken said the African youth population of 1.3 billion will not just make profound impact in the future Africa but on the entire world.
Blinken however noted that the U.S is committed to strengthening African youths through different programmes including the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) which was started by former President Barack Obama and then-Vice President Biden.
“Just starting with the continent –1.3 billion people, median age 19 – there is, I think, no part of the planet we see such an extraordinary young population.
“That is going to have a profound impact not just on the future of Nigeria not just on the future of the continent, but actually on the future of the entire world.
“Because if that extraordinary human resource can be supported and developed and given the opportunities necessary, it’s hard to think of anything more – that will contribute more to human progress in the years ahead.
“On this virtual visit, I had the opportunity to talk to about a dozen alumni from the YALI program, something that President Obama and then-Vice President Biden started, which we are committed to carrying forward and to strengthening.
“There are already 24,000 alumni of that program in one way or another, and as you know, the connections that they build with the United States.
“But as important or maybe more important, the connections they build with one another are going to be a foundation for the future going forward.
“But I think what it really says to me is that our government, the Nigerian Government, other governments, as well, of course, as other sectors of our society, including the business community, including our educational facilities – across the board.
“The single best investment we can make now is in our young people, and especially in Africa’s young people.
”Countries that have the ability to allow those human resources to reach their full potential are going to do very well in the future, almost irrespective of whether they have an abundance of those other measures of wealth,” he said.
He said that underscores the importance of finding ways together to allow human resources and especially the young people to really meet their potential.
The U.S Secretary of States however noted that if the human/youth resources are not properly harnessed, it could turn into bigger challenges.
“On the other hand, if we don’t find ways to do that, we are all going to have a bigger challenge and a bigger problem. So we are very focused on this.
“We are very focused on some of the programs that have been put in place, including YALI, and strengthening them and growing them.
“We are looking at other ways to build connectivity with support for young people, and to work with our partners to do that.
“So stay tuned. I think that there is going to be more to come, but it is something that I am very focused on and also excited about”, Blinken said. (NAN)