Five companies: Nestlé Nigeria, Jobberman Nigeria, Sterling One Foundation, Big Bottling Company and the United Nations Global Compact have joined forces under the Global Alliance for Youth to tackle youth unemployment in Nigeria.
The Global Alliance for Youth Nigeria is a business-driven movement of like-minded organisations passionate about working together to help young people around the country get the necessary skills to thrive in the world of work, today and tomorrow.
With 62 percent of the Nigerian population below age 25 years, Nigeria has one of the highest youth population in the world. According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, as of the second quarter of 2020, over 13.9 million young Nigerians were unemployed. Millions are also underemployed or in uncertain jobs.
High youth unemployment presents serious global social and economic challenges including increased poverty and insecurity. The members of the Global Alliance for Youth Nigeria have positioned themselves to invest in various joint and individual initiatives to give young Nigerians meaningful work experience, internships, readiness-for-work training, and mentoring opportunities in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 8 – to promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all by 2030.
The Alliance plans to reach more than 250,000 young Nigerians with employability and entrepreneurial skills to enable them get gainful employment or set up businesses of their own within the next 3 years.
In a statement at the Press Conference to launch the Alliance, Wassim Elhusseini, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Nestlé Nigeria PLC said: “We are excited to announce the Global Alliance for Youth Nigeria today. If there was a time where an alliance for youth is needed, it is today. Yes, our youth are confronted with multiple challenges, but the critical challenge is that of a lack of opportunities. Our youth have great potential, and those who have been privileged to find the right opportunities have thrived in remarkable ways. This is what this alliance seeks to do: create the opportunities for our youth to attain their highest potential as productive and contributive members of society.
“For us at Nestlé, contributing to a better future for younger generations is a core part of our purpose as an organization. We are confident in the potential impact of the alliance to drive change at scale, leveraging the resources, expertise and network of member companies.”
According to Norena Francis, HR Manager of The Big Bottling Company, “The youths are the future of the world, but the future is now, it therefore means that the youths are the NOW of the world and as such, deliberate actions to make the NOW happen to the benefit of all of mankind is vital.
“Hence, we join the rest of the world in celebrating this year’s International Youth Day… Happy International Youth Day!”
For Rolake Rosiji, Chief Executive Officer, Jobberman Nigeria, “We are excited to be a part of the Alliance to tackle the employment and employability challenge in Nigeria today.
“Through the Alliance, youth will gain access to high-quality trainings, and will be able to gain the critical skills needed to swiftly enter the workforce, as well as grow in their respective fields.”
In her comments, Naomi Nwokolo, Executive Director UN Global Compact Network Nigeria said, “It is no longer fashionable to ignore the youth, never has it been.
“The time is now for all stakeholders (government, private sector and civil societies) to pivot towards harnessing the powers and potentials of the youth demographic. Our participation, which we are proud of, as a member of the Global Alliance for Youth is a clear statement of our intent to engage with the private sector to further entrench the corporate sustainability agenda particularly in the areas of Women and Youth inclusion, Sustainable Innovation, Decent Work and Economic Growth.”
Also speaking about the Alliance, Chief Executive Officer, Sterling One Foundation, Olapeju Ibekwe said, “We have prioritized partnerships for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals across our focus sectors as we believe effective collaboration is the only sustainable strategy for holistic social impact at this time.
“In line with this, we are glad to partner with the Global Alliance for Youth Nigeria as we mark the International Youth Day and look forward to the various innovative projects that will be executed for young people across the country.”
The Global Alliance for Youth – Nigeria member companies are committed to working in collaboration with policymakers, government, and other stakeholders to develop solutions to address youth unemployment and foster job employability and job creation in the coming years.
Together, the Alliance intends to drive concrete actions, providing solutions for measurable change. The International Youth Day, which is celebrated on August 12 annually, serves as an opportunity for Governments and stakeholders to draw attention to youth issues worldwide while celebrating the potential of young people as active partners in the global society.