Nigeria and the European Union, EU, have signed a €55 million memorandum of understanding on the European Union’s support for innovation and jobs for youth in Nigeria, including €44 million for the Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme NJFP.
The agreement was signed on Monday at the launch of the NJFP Fund held at the State House Conference Centre, Abuja.
Nigeria’s Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba signed for Nigeria, while the European Union Ambassador to Nigeria, Samuela Isopi, signed on behalf of the EU.
President Muhammadu Buhari launched the NJFP in August 2021 to bridge the unemployment gap arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Aim of initiative
The initiative is aimed at “connecting young talented graduates with local job opportunities that apply their expertise, while equipping them with world-class practical knowledge and relevant skills.
In the design of the programme, 20,000 graduates will work in paid employed for 12 months in public and private sector organisations while acquiring skills for full employment or that which will help them to go into private enterprise.
NJFPThe Jubilee Fellows Fund, launched on Monday, is a financing instrument through which diverse stakeholders, including the UN, multilateral and bilateral donors, private sector, foundations, international financial institutions, philanthropists, can channel their financial and material contributions for effective and transparent implementation of the Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme (NJFP).
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said at the launch of the NJFP Fund that “the programme is more than just a work experience programme, though it is a fellowship that equips fellows with the skills they need to succeed.
Osinbajo, who was represented by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, said that Jubilee Fellows Programme would help to institutionalize the guidance and mentoring to prepare the youth for leadership, while taking them off the job market.
“Youth unemployment continues to be one of the ardent challenges facing Nigeria today.
The federal government is working tirelessly to reduce unemployment through various policies that support existing businesses, encourage start-ups and build an efficient workforce.
“This is reflected in the federal government’s decision to increase the number of N-power progamme beneficiaries from 500,000 to providing 1,000,000 Nigerians with skills they need to enter the workforce.
Private Sector PartnershipPointing out that government alone cannot solve Nigeria’s unemployment problem, Osinbajo stated that it was for this reason that President Buhari has urged privates sector organisations to partner with government on the fellowship.
He explained that the seed fund for the programme was provided by the Nigerian government, the United Nations Development Programme UNDP, and the EU.
“We need the support of the private sector to provide work placement opportunity, mentorship and funding for the programme to succeed,” the vice president said, adding that the initiative would “provide a template for empowerment across the continent.
Nigeria’s Minister of Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba said that the initiative would not only create opportunities for the 20,000 young graduates, but would also impact on many other people through those engaged in the programme.
“Because of the way we live in Nigeria, if you create one job, you are actually providing for 10 or 15 people.
“So, when you look at 20,000 jobs being created, you multiply that by 15 and you can see the effect it has on the economy.
In his remarks, the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr.
Mathias Schmale noted that Nigerian youths are known globally as pacesetters that are “not only highly skilled and educated but also top creative and innovative entrepreneurs.
Schmale said that Nigeria “is a leading destination for start-up investments, largely targeting and often led by young people.
“The Fintech industry in the country, for example, saw e-commerce, digital economy, creative industries and now agriculture, is now being driven by young people.
It is often them who propose innovative solutions, drive social progress and inspire political change.
The UN Resident Coordinator said that the Jubilee Fellows Fund is an innovative financing mechanism, which is in line with youth resourcefulness and ingenuity.
Vice President Osinbajo also inaugurated the private sector led Advisory Board for the Jubilee Fellowship Fund who will provide guidance and oversight to the management of the fund and work with the federal government and the UNDP to raise additional funding for the NJFP.
The members of the Advisory Board are Mohommed Mijindadi, the President, General Electric Nigeria, who will chair the board; Mr.
Andrew Nevin of Price Waterhouse Coopers PwC; Mr.
Kunle Elebute of KPMG; Dr.
Aliyu Idi Hong, Director Government Relations of the BUA Group; Miss Kemi Okunsanya, Vice President West Africa, VISA; Miss Florence Ifeoluwa Otedola of Cuppy Foundation; the Managing Director of P&G, Miss Mokutima Ajileye and a representative of the EU-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce.
Nigeria, EU sign €55m MoU on support for innovation, jobs for youths in Nigeria