By Betty Akota
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, has said the ministry’s focus is to create opportunities that will assist youth become gainfully engaged.
Mr. Dare stated this when he spoke on a panel at the 6th Annual Convention of the Africa’s Young Entrepreneurs (A.Y.E) which took place in Akure the Ondo state capital on Saturday.
The Minister said the realization that the era of duplicating “empowerment programmes” is over has made the focus to shift to creating opportunities for youth that have acquired the requisite skills.
He said “It is reassuring that the Ondo state governor has launched initiatives that address poverty reduction among the youth through the Office of Innovation and Partnership that is implementing series of human capital development programmes. Of particular note are initiatives like the Job Matching and Internship that has trained about 800 youth between April and now as well as the Technical and Vocational programme aimed at ensuring artisans are not being left out”. He described the three innovation hubs equipping Ondo State youth in the specific areas of incubation, acceleration and data sharing with artificial intelligence as impressive.
The Minister said he had taken time to outline the youth friendly initiatives of the Ondo state government because the Governor shares the same vision with the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development which sees the youth as resources in need of investment to realize inherent potentials.
Describing the convention as timely, he said “This year’s convention is equally aligned with President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment of the government to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the course of the next ten years”.
While calling on policy makers to make investments in line with the digital revolution era, he said the Federal Government is working to bridge the Digital Skills Gap which exists in Nigeria and Africa at large, which he described as the reason most youth remain unemployed.
The minister explained that “It is for this reason that we are focusing on creating opportunities so that youth have been trained in empowerment programmes can put their acquired skills to use.”