Former Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, has advised youths across Africa to leverage on technology to create jobs for themselves instead of depending on their governments for employment.
The African Development Bank had in 2019 estimated unemployment levels in the continent to be about 60%. Meanwhile in Nigeria, unemployment rate was at 23.1% as of 2018, according to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics.
“Don’t just wait for government, create a job for your selves and create jobs for six others,” Iweala said while addressing the way forward for African youth’s.
“If you have invented something, don’t just look at the government as a place in which you can get support.. look for the big private sector players who are willing to invest, you can get more support from that side. If you also want to let the Africa Investment Advisor (AIA), know for those of you who have interesting inventions, let us know,” she added.
She also said, “We should never waste a crisis. We can choose to say, what are the opportunities that can come out of this crisis for young people. For the youths you have seen that the pandemic has led to a lot of creativity in the technology space. some people have invented trackers for tracking the pandemic… they are all form of art, science and technology that are been deployed by our CDCs.
“Even as we are in the midst of a crisis situation, the youths have used it as a creative means to invent all sorts of things that can help us. So that is why i want to say to you, post pandemic and during the pandemic, can we deploy the youths mind on how to use technology in all the sectors of the economy, to create different ways of doing business and to innovate. I think technology is one grey area where we need the youths. Technology is the way of the future, we need to digitise in all sectors, digitise trade, transport, digitise agriculture, payment system in finance that is one clear area we can have an opportunity.
“Agriculture is one of the sectors that the continent has a comparative advantage and we need young people to think about how we are going to feed our selves. We need to modernise agriculture, so how can you become an agricultural entrepreneurs. I believe that young people should not wait for any one to create jobs for them, they should be creating jobs for themselves and for other people,” she added.