EU, businesses collaborate, step-up plans to grow Nigeria’s human capital

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European businesses and the European Union (EU) Delegation to Nigeria have announced plans to step-up collaborations targeted at Nigerian youths to address skills gap in employments.

The European Union Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms Samuela Isopi, made the disclosure  in a report from a stakeholders’ conference hosted by the European Business Chambers in Nigeria (Eurocham).

The ambassador; also Honorary President, Eurocham Nigeria, described human capital as key to Nigeria’s development, and said the EU, its member-states and businesses recognised this in their engagements with Nigeria.

She stated that Youth, Education, Employability and Skills (YEES) were top priority for the EU, both internally and in its cooperation with partner-countries.

 “Both the European Union and Eurocham Nigeria are playing leading roles in the Nigeria Jubilee Fellowship Programme, a collaborative initiative between the Nigerian Government and key stakeholders.

“This is to build a reservoir of innovative and employable skills in the country, by placing smart young graduates in paid 1-year internships in companies across the country.

“The programme targets 100,000 youths over a five-year period.

“Demography indeed has the potential to help transform Nigeria,  but it also poses challenges in terms of demand for quality education, skill development and employment.

“With young people making up 70 per cent of Nigeria’s population, the EU has prioritised the youth across all areas of its cooperation with the country,” she said.

She added that the EU, recognising that youth empowerment was critical to Nigeria’s general elections, has put the youth and their role in democratic governance first through programmes that mobilise youths to register and vote in the elections.

The EU is Nigeria’s biggest trading partner, with trade valued at about 29 billion euros a year, and a balance, which is significantly in favour of Nigeria.

Also, Eurocham Nigeria; formed in 2018 to give a common voice to European businesses, together with the EU Delegation, serves as a platform for engaging with the Nigerian authorities on issues that impact businesses