Prof Yemi Osinbajo of Nigeria
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday requested African entrepreneurs to focus attention on skills training to tackle the challenge of graduate unemployment on the continent.
He gave the charge while receiving a delegation of the African Young Entrepreneurs (AYE), led by its President, Mr Summy Francis, at the State House, Abuja.
Osinbajo said there was a knowledge challenge compounded by the dearth of professionals to impart skills’ training to others.
He added that everyone would not become an entrepreneur, thus making it imperative for them to acquire other skills that could enable them to become proficient and possibly even consultants in their new fields.
He said “there is a knowledge challenge” and asked; “how do we make people skilled? How can we empower people by making them to be more knowledgeable?”
The vice president said there was a certain excitement surrounding any discourse involving creative people but added that there was also the need for people who could teach basic and important business skills.
He said “for instance, there is a dearth of policy writing skills, a deficit that can be addressed by training.”
He then commended AYE for its initiatives to promote the economy of Africa, noting that with such coming from the youth, there was hope for the continent.
He urged the delegation to be in the vanguard of the fight against corruption as means of removing obstacles to doing business.
He said this could be achieved if the entrepreneur did more to expose the act as well as those who ask for bribe.
“You have to deal with corruption as a business obstacle.
“You have to set up a programme to fight corruption as part of your activities and the best way to fight the menace is to report it,” he advised.
According to Osinbajo, the Muhammadu Buhari administration is trying to fight corruption to clean up the business environment but it needs partners, especially the youth.
“Let your group also show zero tolerance to corruption,” he added.
The president of AYE said the group visited the vice president to exchange views with him on its programmes on youth empowerment and youth development in Africa, specifically Nigeria.
He said “the visit is part of plans or strategies that we have as an organisation to enhance and develop young entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
“Our objective remains the empowerment of young entrepreneurs across Africa.
“We’ll continue to successfully connect and foster African business relationships.
“AYE is dedicated to developing the next generation of outstanding African entrepreneurs who will continue to shape the economic and political landscape of their home countries.”
Francis said AYE was planning to launch the Africa Young Entrepreneurs Students Association (AYESA) on Dec. 5 as an opportunity to proffer solution for unemployment in Nigeria.
“This is a conference that will bring about 10,000 student entrepreneurs together and we will be focusing their minds from being job seekers to job makers,” he said.
According to him, youths should not wait for government to provide them with employment but should be employment creators.
He added that it was not ideal for youths to always wait for government for everything, stressing that “if we can come together as entrepreneurs, we can also become solution providers for our economy to move forward.”
AYE Vice President Ebada Ahmed said that the driving force of the organisation was the Africa renaissance.
She said “more than 50 per cent of Africa’s population is made of young people and you cannot talk about economic development without involving the youth.
“These are young men with massive manpower and massive brain power; you can’t talk about development anywhere in the world without youths not just in Africa,” she added.