The YouthUp Global has successfully organised the first of its kind ‘Innovate Africa’ project which was poised to addressing youth unemployment, development and growth in Africa and Espact’s Lead Consultant Temmy Balogun was present to moderate the first panel.
The event was launched by the welcome address of the President and Founder of YouthUp Global, Dr. Faith Nwaobia, as he stated the aim of the project, which is to take at least, 5000 African Youths out of poverty by providing them a sustainable means of livelihood annually starting from Nigeria.
Dr. Faith Nwaobia, through YouthUp Global, has organized several previous projects on Youth empowerment in other African countries such as Ghana, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, amongst others.
The InnovateAfrica 1.0 (maiden edition) was themed; “Innovating Africa out of Youth Unemployment: The challenges and Opportunities of African Youths With Empowering Initiatives Through The 4E’s (Education, Entrepreneurship, Entertainment, Employment)”.
A Guest Speaker, Eustace Onuegbu (President & Lead Consultant, International Network for Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability School in Africa) gave a note on ‘Sustainability … He explained that Invention is about coming up with new products but innovation is producing new products that are useful in the market and has an impact in the society.
A representative of the Ministry of Youths and Sports, Nze Emmanuel- Deputy Director of Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports, gave a remark, while noting that employment is a major setback to the development of Nigeria.
He mentioned that the ministry has established ‘the DEEL Program’ in order to tackle this issue effectively. He encouraged young people to empower themselves with a skill and acquire trainings on digital skills which is being organized by the ministry.
The government through the ministry has also set in place a platform called “The Nigerian youth Development Funds: for Nigerian youths to access business loans at flexible repayment rates and low interest rates.”
Dr. Oluwatosin Komolafe, the Director of Research and Evaluation, YouthUp Global, gave a paper presentation, Addressing “Youth unemployment in Africa”. He mentioned that 53.8% of Nigerian Youths are unemployed , according to Study reports. He highlighted the issues facing the country as regards unemployment and proffered a few solutions which included youth skills acquisition and empowerment.
He urged youths that they do not all necessarily have to be entrepreneurs because not everyone will be entrepreneurs; he said it is important to empower themselves learn skills that will make them employable.
The first panel of discussion for the program spoke on the theme; ‘POSITIONING FOR THE FITURE OF WORK: BRIDGING THE SKILLS GAP TO ADDRESS YOUTHS EMPLOYABILITY IN AFRICA’.
The panel, which was moderated by the founder and Lead Consultant at Espact, Temmy Balogun, featured; Oluwakemi Shonubi (Director, People, Culture, Experience & Operations at TVC Communications), Sarah Onyeuku (Head, Client Service at the Zone Centre), Seun Odegbami (Growth Expert)
Temmy Balogun put up two different questions for discussion for the panel. The first question which was ‘what is the future of work’ was answered by the Oluwakemi Shonubi, who mentioned that ‘the future of work is now transparent, competitive and on demand’. The future of work is youths standing out in their sphere of business or industry.
She mentioned also that youths need to to have insight and be action available. Seun Odegbami who also spoke on positioning for the future of work emphasized that youths need to position themselves to understand data an be very analytic. In order to sell their value to their target market, they need to acquire skills to help them understand basic analytic tools. Skills like product management, digital marketing skill, dash science and so on.
Sarah Onyeuku further explained that the future of work is all about innovative solutions. She mentioned that businesses are suffering at the moment due to lack of moving with innovative and technological trends and being overly dependent on natural resources alone. She mentioned that youths need to think differently and be innovative in their thinking and solutions profferment.
The Director of Operations at TVC Communications, Oluwakemi Shonubi, also made further contributions to the topic of discussion by mentioning that the curriculum being taught in schools is somewhat ‘outdated’ to prepare youths for the workforce. There is often a mismatch of skills in jobs youths are being employed for in Nigeria.
She believes that the country and its youths need to improve themselves and reposition themselves for employability because he future for work is looking for people who are willing to make an impact through innovative thinking.
Sarah Onyeuku mentioned that youths need to be emotionally intelligent and it has to start from the teaching of youths from school down to skills acquisition such as data analytics.
Employers also have a role to play in seeking out right talents for the right employment roles. Youths also need to constantly access themselves and how seek ways to better improve themselves on the things they are e lagging.
Mastery: “Devote time to get mastery over the things you lag on after accessing yourself”, Sarah emphasized.
Temmy Balogun who summarised and concluded the panel’s discussion stating key points, “Unemployment and employability are the major issues in the employment of youths in Nigeria. Youths need to make themselves employable and the ministry of youths need devise ways to improve the youth sector and employment in the country”.
Other Panels also came up to discuss other various issues on youth unemployment and how to tackle unemployment in Nigeria and Africa at whole.
The Other Panel Topics included; “Evaluating Pur Appetite: Steps to improve the local demand for locally made goods and services in Africa”, “Building the Africa we want: Leveraging technology for sustainable startup ecosystems in Africa” and “Formalizing the informal: How to make the African informal sector more attractive to 21st Century Youths”.
The event also featured product exhibits and partners, as well Networking by youths and personalities who were present at the project event.
The InnovateAfrica 1.0 event was supported by lots brands across Nigeria. See photo below;