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The 5 W’s of Nigeria’s Unemployment Rate: Solutions

Growing up, my father taught me that stating a problem over and over doesn’t turn it into a solution. Ditto for avoiding that problem or pretending it doesn’t exist. The only way to solve a problem is to ‘solve it’.

After I did the ’5 W’s Of Nigeria’s Unemployment Rate: Act 1′ post, it occurred to me that I had restated an obvious problem; perhaps with a new perspective or from different angles but still, I didn’t say anything Nigerians already don’t know or feel the effects of.

I decided to do a sequel and proffer solutions and I’d already started on that when I thought, why not include the voices of young people, the worst hit demographic? The Ministry of Youth Development said recently that there are 68 million unemployed youths in Nigeria.

This link ( http://bit.ly/134nKVl ) is both to the original article, and where some of the answers I got off Twitter are shown. The question was, ‘What’s one/your solution to unemployment in Nigeria?’

These young people mentioned:

1. constant power supply
2. lower interest rates, eliminating unnecessary red tape
3. provision of employable skills (better education)
4. entrepreneurial courses added to the curriculum
5. Good governance

Are there more? Broken again into what, where, when, why, who, and how, we will now explore a few more solutions.

Who

All inclusive – the government to create the enabling environment for commerce/business/entrepreneurship to thrive, the private sector to quit with some of their outrageous job requirements, e.g. ‘not older than 35, Master’s Degree holders preferable, with eight years cognate experience’; the teachers to be true to their profession, to parents not to live their lives through their children, to the youth themselves to strive to be productive members of the society.

What

Direct youth oriented programmes properly, and on the right scales (national, state, and local government levels); competitions where the government doles out money to a few people without catering to the illiterate/hinterland demographic is spits short of hypocritical.

The government needs to abolish the Federal Character Commission and instead install job centres around the country where the youth can be hired on contractual, part-time, or permanent basis based on their skills and competencies alone.

Where

All inclusive as well, not just restricted to the urban or city areas. The government needs to provide adequate infrastructure and elevate our villages by fitting them out with schools, medical, and recreational facilities. The minimum wage should be reflective of the cost of living across board.

Why

Africa is the world’s youngest continent, Nigeria its most populous nation with 160 million people, and currently standing at 63%, has the highest percentage of young people aged 18 – 34. Of the number, 23.9% are unemployed. And we wonder about the rising levels of crime and violence? We wonder about the gaping divide between the rich and the poor? The increasing number of young people signing up as thugs and minions for politicians?

Imagine the greatness, the world power status Nigeria would attain if this gaping drain was plugged; if the collective power of the unemployed was harnessed in developing any of Nigeria’s resources.

How

Mr Tunde Popoola, the Managing Director, CRC Credit Bureau speaking at the Institute of Directors (IoD) members meeting in Lagos earlier this year said, “Government needs to do more to create opportunities for growth that will create jobs and not the kind of jobless growth that we have been experiencing for a long time. For this to happen, then, it will have to facilitate provision of social and economic infrastructure, enable agriculture which contributes 42 percent to our GDP but benefits 1 percent from total loans and advances by the banking system. For the socio-economic infrastructure, the issues of energy and power, transportation and security are key and hold to liberating us from the clutches of jobless growth, youth unemployment and poverty.”

Second tier of a response to the ‘How’ question is this: The World Bank advocates three levels of youth engagement (the three lens model) for youth empowerment:

-working for the youth as beneficiaries

-engaging the youth as partners

- supporting the youth as leaders

When

Now. All of these should be implemented as soon as possible, and should not form the text of politician’s manifestos in the next election year. Nothing short of a holistic, targeted plan with measurable goals will reverse this trend. The time for that is now.

Have a happy, extra-productive New Year!

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