Mastercard Foundation says it is collaborating with the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) of the Pan African University to train and finance 40,000 youth every year in the next five years to create jobs and check unemployment in the country.
Director, Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) of the university, Peter Bankole, was speaking in Lagos along with the Country head of Mastercard Foundation, Chidinma Lawanson.
Bankole said they have already partnered with Sterling Bank and the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) to provide finance at nine percent interest rate to all the trainees of the programme to start their respective ventures.
He said Mastercard Foundation was behind the initiative to train 200,000 Nigerian youths in the period of five years and to also fund the trainees adequately to start, grow, and become employers of labour, as against roaming the streets, looking for jobs that are not available.
“The programme will also provide support and resources to young people who want to become employable in the creative and agricultural sectors.
“The idea is that as we train them and build their capacity, we will equally support them as they create a minimum of 200,000 jobs…the programme has so far been transformational.
He said over 10,000 people have so far benefitted from this programme adding that youths who are yet to join do so by registering through the website: http://reg.smetoolkit.ng/betransformed.
“This initiative will prepare and enable young people to pursue their aspirations and create productive livelihoods for themselves and others,” Lawanson said.
“We at Mastercard Foundation, are very strong in capacity building and financial inclusion. We have interventions across more than 100 countries. But in 2016, when we clocked 10 years, we went through an internal review to come up with the Young Africa Works strategy, to unlock employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for 30 million young Africans by the year 2030.”
“All the indices in Nigeria show that if we target the youth, aged 18-35, especially women, agriculture would be a strong area for Nigeria, to create about 60 percent work opportunities.
“There are lots in the agricultural value chain, with the second space where the youths really want, being the creative industry, the second largest employer of labour for youth in Nigeria.
“We look for credible partners who have the expertise to train youths to partner with. Now, we will collaborate with EDC in this youth transformation project for five years, and with their expertise and learning modules, and we can say, so far, so good, with the growth and trend we have experienced.
The executive secretary of Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), Teju Abisoye said Lagos State government mandate was to tackle unemployment
Abisoye said the unemployment rate in Nigeria was 40 percent, with Lagos State alone having 7.14 percent, an estimated seven million people out of jobs.
“This calls for urgent attention. Our job is how to strategically deal with unemployment issues and tackle poverty.
“We will continue to represent a credible platform for people to access funding and see how we can create a programme or a process that is much faster. Those who have successfully completed the programme, are guaranteed access to funding almost automatically, as long as you bring the required processes required.”
She said the grant ranges between N50,000 and N5 million, depending on the nature of the business.
“We are excited about this initiative, supporting businesses in the next five years for residents and those based in Lagos state is very exciting to us.”
The deputy director, Programmes, NYSC Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED), Rachel Idaewor, said the NYSC entered into skill acquisition and entrepreneurship development in 2012 after discovering the need for a skill acquisition and entrepreneurship department.
Mastercard Foundation and the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) launched the youths programme in 2020 for young Nigerians, especially women, within the age range of 18 to 35.
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