Today, I met with civil society leaders, representatives from government ministries, departments and agencies, and participants from the private sector for over 3 hours to review the efficacy of policies, programs and other interventions that are intended to reduce the political marginalization and support the development needs of today’s youth.
Needless to say, our youth unemployment rate is alarming and demands the immediate and full attention of government, the private sector and civil society. This is why coordinated and integrated strategies are necessary to ensure that youth employment and development solutions become central to the national debate on Nigeria’s economic and political future.
Right now, Nigeria has a youth labor force of 38.2 million people. Out of this number, 48.7% or 15.2 million people are out of work and actively seeking work. Additionally, the youth unemployment issue is mostly centered in rural areas and continues to grow rapidly.
This is why, today’s Roundtable was designed as a a fact-finding and information download for our panelists. It is our hope that today’s discussion begins a consultative process that will open up the decision-making process for the ideas and strategies of the participants to address youth development issues.
As our nation continues to diversify the economy and move from economic recovery to expansion, we must end the marginalization of young people by including their interests in national planning from inception.
Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki (CON), President of the Senate