Nigeria: How Youth Entrepreneurship Programmes Reduce Unemployment

By Kelechukwu Iruoma

In December 2018, Nigeria’s unemployment stood at 23.1% affecting 20.9million people, the majority of which are young people. But two programmes initiated by the Delta State government is addressing youth unemployment in that state

Unemployment has become a major problem that bedevils the lives of Nigerians, especially the youth, resulting in cybercrime, increased militancy, kidnappings, robberies and other violent crimes. The lack of work affects the mental and psychological wellbeing of a large percentage of Nigerians. Many young people have given up hope and some have committed suicide, leaving their families devastated.

Nigeria’s unemployment rate has increased from 18.8% in 2017 to 23.1%, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released in December 2018. The report revealed that Nigeria now has 20.9 million people who are unemployed, a figure that rose from 17.6 million.

Of the 20.9 million people classified as unemployed, 11.1 million did some form of work but for few hours a week (less than 20 hours), while 9.7 million did absolutely nothing, the NBS said.

Due to the unfriendly economy, some companies in the country have been laying off their staff. According to the report, 9.9 million people were unemployed after they had lost their jobs.

“Of the 9.7 million that were unemployed and did nothing at all, 35% or 3.4 million have been unemployed and did nothing at all for less than a year, 17.2% or 1.6 million for a year, 15.7% or 1.5 million had been unemployed and did nothing for two years, and the remaining 32.1% or 3.1 million unemployed persons had been unemployed doing nothing for three years and more,” the report states.

Rise in youth unemployment

The majority of the people affected are young people. According to the NBS, unemployment in the age bracket of between 15 and 35 stood at an alarming 52.65%, while in some African countries the rate is lower. Youth unemployment in Liberia stands at 4.7%, Kenya 18.7%, Egypt 26.3%, South Africa 27.7%, Lesotho 31.8%, Libya 43.8% and Ghana 48%.

STEP-and-YAGEP-beneficiaries- Asabametro

The federal government tried to address this by establishing Npower. The aim was “to foster productivity through skills development and valuable knowledge sharing and acquisition for economic growth and social development”. The impact has not been felt much.

YAGEP and STEP to the rescue

State governments also started churning out various programmes to reduce the rate of unemployment in their states by training the unemployed to become self-employed. The Delta State government is one of the states that established two programmes, namely the Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP) and Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP). YAGEP is focused on fish, rice and vegetable production, while STEP is focused on nine skill acquisitions. These include fashion design and tailoring, plumbing and audiovisual services, among others. The state government’s aim is to provide job opportunities and empower the youth.

Launching STEP shortly after his inauguration as the governor of the state in 2015, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa said, “We are not training you to remain one. We are training you to become successful entrepreneurs who would train and employ other unemployed youths.”


Cynthia Ehire is the Chief Executive Officer of Omas Events and Makeovers, based in Sapele, Nigeria. She was a beneficiary of STEP’s 2015/2016 cycle. She enrolled and learnt to bake cakes and pastries and to do makeovers. Now she is fully into cosmetics.

“I have never experienced anything like this before. My eyes were opened to the opportunities in decoration and events management before I diversified into catering, makeovers and skin therapy.” Cynthia has trained and graduated nine apprentices while more than 15 people are now undergoing training in her enterprise.

YAGEP has also been impactful. At its launch in 2017, the government allocated 154 YAGEP fish ponds, located at Ugbokodo in the Okpe local government area, to 77 YAGEPreneurs. Each young person was allocated two fish ponds to enable them to start their fisheries enterprise. The government has since established four more fish pond clusters, at Egbokodo-Itsekiri, Mbiri, Anwai and Alao-Ossissa.

High demand

Annually, more than 10 000 young people apply for both these programmes. In the 2017/2018 cycle, 15 000 people were reported to have applied, when there is space for about 800.

So far, more than 2 300 young people have been trained, nurtured and established in their choice enterprises under the STEP and YAGEP programmes of the Delta state government. Graduate trainees have in turn trained and nurtured thousands of entrepreneurs to become self-employed and economically viable.

Source This Is Africa

Young Tunisians see red

Inspired by Franceʹs “gilets jaunes”, the Tunisian “red vest” movement reflects the widespread discontent in the North African country, where protests against spiralling living costs, unemployment, mismanagement and corruption are once again on the increase. By Alessandra Bajec

On 8 December, Tunisian activists circulated an official statement on social media announcing the launch of a new grassroots group (“gilets rouges”) that intends to organise peaceful protests against the governmentʹs failure to improve economic conditions. Emulating the French “yellow vests”, the group takes its colour from the red of the countryʹs flag.

“Owing to the ruling eliteʹs lack of honesty and transparency and the deepening rift between ordinary people and the government, we – the Tunisian youth – are today launching the Red Vest movement to save Tunisia,” the statement read.

The new campaign came just a day after the Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed admitted that the country is still plagued by “widespread corruption”, conceding that there has been no serious progress in recent years. Unemployment is seen to be increasing as a result of structural corruption, which is only serving to widen the class divide.

Social media appeal

Followed by 5,300 people within the first 24 hours after it formally took off, the movement now has over 16,320 followers on its Facebook page. Apolitical, without any commercial backing, and relying on a young demographic of Tunisians aged 20 to 40, the Red Vests have so far established at least 12 regional co-ordination committees and dozens of local committees nationwide. Open to all citizens, the newly-founded initiative is still in the process of forming.

At the campaignʹs core are co-founders Yassin Ouerghi and Bourhan al-Ajlani (the latter was detained following the launch), Riadh Jrad and Nejib Dziri, members of the national bureau. The founders are former members of the leftist-affiliated General Union of Tunisian Students (UGET).

“There is a huge divide in Tunisia between the coastal regions and the hinterland. The (marginalised) interior is where the 2011 revolution was ignited, yet those areas have seen little or no benefit,” complains Ghassen al-Ajlani, Bourhanʹs brother, originally from the Kasserine governorate. He hinted at a “purely neo-liberal, capitalist trend ignoring the countryʹs interior regions.”

Shocked by his siblingʹs arrest, he explained that Bourhan is a young bright and highly educated man, anti-Islamist, a long-standing militant from Kasserine, well connected with the revolutionary youth there. He also mentioned some early mobilisations seen throughout the Kasserine region in December, suggesting that his brother may have been behind those social protests.

“A young movement… to build our country’s future”

“When news of the Red Vests spread, those at the top started to become afraid. They realise that if the Yellow Vest phenomenon is on the rise in France, the same can happen in Tunisia where people are even more fed up!” argues Ghassen.

Driven by a call to question the government for its inability to fix the economic crisis, the Red Vests are critical of the ruling regime and all political parties, holding them responsible for the current situation.

“They understand all too well that this movement could take hold in the population, threatening the establishment and their power,” notes Ouerghi. “We have a dream, we want to create a young movement to build our countryʹs future,” he adds.

Source Quantara

The youth unemployment conundrum and potential solutions

By Yasmin Ahmad Kamil

Youth unemployment can derail future plans, such as paying off student loan debts, buying a home and starting a family.

A traditional life cycle for some may typically include: studying, getting a job, getting married, and retiring.

However, this concept is growing archaic as more and more young adults are finding it tougher to find employment after graduation. This obviously derails their future plans such as paying off their student loan debt, buying a home, starting a family and being able to save and invest.

According to the International Labour Office (ILO), the global youth unemployment rate stands at 13 percent – three times higher than the figure for adults, which is 4.3 percent. In their report titled World Social and Employment Outlook – Trends 2018, they noted that “young people under the age of 25 are less likely to find work than adults.”

According to the United Nations in 2015, the global population of youths – individuals aged between 15 and 24 years – numbered to about 1.2 billion globally. This accounts for one out of every six people worldwide. Meanwhile, the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) Projects notes that the youth population is expected to reach 1.4 billion by 2050.

Youth unemployment has been a longstanding issue that affects various countries, including Greece, Spain, Italy, Pakistan, Jamaica, South Africa, Turkey, Malaysia, and Australia.

While there are many micro and macroeconomic factors that affect youth unemployment, the primary reasons may vary between countries. For example, Greece’s youth unemployment rate is attributed to the country’s crippling debt while in Malaysia, MIDF Research notes that the problem is attributed to a skills mismatch, with demand for low-skill jobs higher than high-skill occupations.

Other reasons that have been cited in various reports include a lack of job opportunities, a lack of work experience, inadequate qualifications and a discrepancy between a graduates’ asking salary and the salary offered by employers, among others.

Consequences of youth unemployment

Psychologically, unemployed youths in high-income economies with post-secondary education tend to suffer more compared to those with lower education qualifications

A lack of involvement of this dynamic segment of society in the labour force, though, not always by choice, has many negative implications on the lives of youths as well as the economy.

Some of which include youths being unable to pay off their student loan and other forms of debt, which will cause their interest to accrue, and affect their credit score and ability to get future loans.

To boot, youth unemployment has been related to mental health problems; a Swedish study has found that the problem appears to be strongly associated with alcohol and drug use disorders.

It can also negatively affect the physically well-being of youths, impede their skills development, potentially cause youth homelessness and a lower output, loss of human capital and increased poverty, especially in developing countries.

It is clear that being young, educated and involuntarily unemployed has profound effects on an individual’s future, as well as the broader economy.

A way forward

Some of the potential solutions to youth unemployment may include focusing on vocational and entrepreneurial education.

As the reasons for youth unemployment vary between countries, each country needs to ascertain the right solution that would help them tackle the problem of youth unemployment effectively.

For some, it might involve turning to vocational education to minimise the skills mismatch between graduates and what the labour force needs.

A report in The Guardian noted that vocational education “tends to result in a faster transition into the workplace, and countries that have it at the core of the curriculum – such as Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands – have been successful in maintaining low youth unemployment rates.”

For example, Germany has enjoyed a relatively low youth unemployment rate by international standards, with reports suggesting that its dual vocational education and training – or combination of on-the-job training and part-time education – has worked well for the country.

While there may be other factors at play that have contributed to their low youth unemployment rates, such as favourable economic conditions, it serves as something other countries could potentially emulate.

Meanwhile, Unesco notes that entrepreneurship is seen as a viable alternative for job creation to tackle the problem of youth unemployment.

It adds that: “At the same time, the traits and characteristics of entrepreneurs – creativity, innovation, critical and strategic thinking, adaptability, resourcefulness, motivation, confidence, risk-taking and more – resonate deeply with educators and parents.

“Countries with such talented girls, boys, women and men will be better equipped to deal with the demands of the 21st century.”

Of course, starting a business as an entrepreneur will require a whole lot more than just a willingness and interest to do so, so it’s not always the most viable option for everyone.

Those who don’t feel confident enough to take such a risk could also consider joining the gig economy – ie. becoming an independent contractor or freelancer and taking up short-term jobs or projects relevant to their expertise on contract basis.

With tech disruptions and virtually every industry going digital came the rise of the gig economy, a trend that can be extremely beneficial for fresh graduates looking to join the workforce. It’s also an opportunity for them to learn the art of the hustle, which will sharpen their survival skills in the long run, especially in a dog-eat-dog world.

Apart from the above, governments could also consider spending more effort on developing educational programmes that will benefit youths. This is being done in Spain, where the government has said it aims to “promote training programmes that come with a promise of employment at the end, by working hand in hand with companies”, reports The Local Spain.

It adds that the government has said it would inject €2 billion (US$2.3 billion) into battling youth unemployment, which stands at a whopping 33 percent.

While the intricacies of youth unemployment suggest that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to tackling the issue, it is clear that a multifaceted approach is needed to address the problem.

Source Sinews

First Bank moves to tackle youth unemployment in Nigeria

First Bank of Nigeria Ltd., on last Thursday reiterated its commitment to tackling the nation’s rising unemployment rate with youth empowerment initiatives aimed at wealth creation.

Mr Gbenga Shobo, the bank’s Deputy Managing Director, speaking in Lagos on the sidelines of the youth empowerment initiative with the theme “Goals. Grit. Grind.” said that the bank would remain committed on ways to tackle the nation’s unemployment rate by catching them young.

“We like the youths to start understanding wealth and how to create wealth.

“You also understand that in Nigeria now, it’s a bit of unemployment and we want to start early with the youths to start teaching them how to create wealth, especially outside the formal employment,” Shobo said.

He said that the youth empowerment initiative which started in 2017 was introduced to strengthen financial inclusion and as well make the youths independent, instead of relying on their parents for everything.

“We want to start young and we have two sets of people here today — 9 to 13 years and older ones — we don’t think it’s too young at all to reach out to the youths segment.

“Some of them who were here last year have used what they learnt to be financially independent. A lot of them have started doing things on their own, while waiting for formal employment.

“We will continue to do this series to strengthen economic growth and development,” Shobo said. He said that the bank, through the initiative, had instituted various investment clubs for mentoring of youths to enhance financial freedom.

“Some of them have investment clubs; we are involved in some of these investment clubs, so, within those clubs, we help to mentor them,”the deputy managing director said.

He said the bank had introduced other financial inclusion strategies that make it easier for people to open an account without stress. Dr Aderemi Banjoko, Director & Founder, dbkMarkets, a global online trading company, who was the guest speaker, tasked the youths on wealth creation, money management and investment.

Speaking on the topic “Financial literacy for youths”, Banjoko said that knowledge was key to financial literacy and management.

He said that financial literacy entails ability to make informed judgements and take effective decisions regarding the use and management of money.

Banjoko stressed the need for diversification of investment to minimise risk, noting that investing in different asset classes remained the main thing.

He urged the participants to invest in stocks and shares, money market mutual fund such as commercial papers, treasury bills, among others.

Banjoko enjoined them to invest through financial experts in order not to make mistakes, advising that investing through mutual funds would be safer for them.

This article was first published on Vanguard

South Africa Tops with Highest Number of Unemployed Youth

By Vera Shawiza

South Africa leads with the highest number of unemployed youths globally at 52.8 percent. South Africa’s high youth unemployment rate is one of the greatest issues facing the nation’s economic prospects.

Greece comes in second as a country with the highest number of unemployed youths, a figure that stands at 36.8 percent with Spain following closely at 34.9 percent.

Young people were estimated to account for over 35 percent of the unemployed population worldwide in 2017. While the global youth unemployment rate stabilized at 13.0 percent in 2016 and it was expected to rise slightly to 13.1 percent in 2018.

As of 2017, 39 percent of young workers in the emerging and developing world, an approximate of 160.8 million youth were living in moderate or extreme poverty, i.e. on less than $3.10 a day.

More than two in every five young people in today’s workforce are unemployed or are working but poor, a striking reality that is impacting society across the world.

For many of them, their present and future lie in the informal economy. Globally, three out of four employed young women and men are in informal employment, compared to three in five adults. In developing countries, this ratio is as high as 19 out of 20 for young women and men.

The youth employment challenge is therefore not just about job creation, but also – even more so – about the quality of work and decent jobs for youth.

The youth unemployment crisis, specifically in the context of the global employment situation is, along with climate change, the great challenge of our time.

As debates broaden about the future of work in the context of the current industrial revolution, what seems clear is that the chronic unemployment and job instability affecting young people, in addition to their distrust of politics, hold devastating consequences for society as a whole.

Every year around the world, 40 million young people (400 million in a decade) join a labor market that is not growing enough. Around 70 million out of the 200 million people out of work are young and if the economy does not prove capable of finding a solution, we are going to find ourselves with a lost generation bringing with it a loss of human capital, social exclusion, and dislocation.

The quality of the jobs available also poses a great challenge. The crisis has accelerated the replacement of quality jobs with those that are not. At the same time, social protection policies have been weakened and there has been a fracturing of the social contract.

If nothing is done to tackle global youth unemployment, the consequences will be significant; all that remains to be seen is in what sense. Economic, social and employment policies need to be geared towards resolving this problem, given that the youth employment crisis is behind all kinds of phenomena.

Here is a list of Countries with the Highest number of Unemployed youth across the world:

South Africa: 52.8%
Greece: 34.9%
Spain: 34.9%
Nigeria: 33.1%
Italy: 32.5%
Iran: 32.5%
Morocco: 27.5%
Serbia: 27.5%
Algeria: 26.4%
Croatia: 23%
Albania: 22.6%
Sri Lanka: 22.5%
France: 21.5%
Portugal: 21.4%
Turkey: 20.8%
Cyprus: 19%
Belgium: 18.9%

This articles was first published on Soko Directory