The Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has successfully held the first ever webinar on how the novel Coronavirus impact the youth as it brought stakeholders together on a virtual platform to explore what the youth should to take up the opportunities that will arise post COVID-19.
Some of the opportunities identified are in fintech, E-sports and gaming, app development for key sectors and production of digital tools to address specific needs. Of note was the commitment of government to quickly increase the number of Nigerian youth with access to both digital skills and financial credit to become entrepreneurs under the Digital Youth Nigeria (DY.ng).
The online session tagged COVID-19 Era and Beyond: Impact and Opportunities for Youth Development in Nigeria extensively reviewed how the pandemic is affecting the youth and their ability to be gainfully employed at a time when a global shutdown is predicted to result in job losses.
The webinar has on its panel Mr Gabriel Tanimu Aduda, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Youth and Sports Development; Ulla Elisabeth Mueller, UNFPA Country Representative in Nigeria; Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata, Director of Founders’ Institute; Sam Itodo, Executive Director YIAGA Africa; Lois Auta, Founder/CEO of Cedar Seed Foundation; Abdulrazak Salawu, NYSC Director of Community Development Service, Dr. Helen Paul, Comedienne and Actress, Nasir Adhama, Special Assitant to the President on Youth and Student Affairs, Mubarak Mijinyawa, Speaker of Nigerian Youth Parliament; Sukubo Igbe Sukubo, President of National Youth Council of Nigeria and moderated by Tayo Olosunde of Mind the Gap and Jide Ode-Martins, Director of Enterprise Development and Promotion of the Ministry.
In his keynote address, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare explained that while the youth population is the most impacted by the virus it is also the population that is strategically placed to tap into the opportunities created as a result of the changes brought about by the pandemic.
He said “For us at the Ministry we have started on the track of what we think the future is: digital skills. And so, we are hoping youth can take advantage of the opportunity of the lockdown to learn digital skills that will help them to produce tech-driven or tech-based solutions to community problems. We are working in a number of areas with some partners to deliver.
“For instance, we have a programme for IBM certification called Digital Nation. So far, the Ministry has trained over 8,000 youth online in digital skills and certified them through IBM. It is part of our flagship digital skills training programme called DY.NG, which is an acronym for Digitals Skills Nigeria. Similarly, we have held six digital skills webinars like this one, that is virtual lectures for youth online with over 3,000 participating every week collectively. We hope we can scale participation in this programme through your networks. Our target is to see that at least half a million youth acquire these skills within the next one to two years, which is where you all come in – in expanding the reach.
“Closely related to this, we also started a youth innovation series. In this programme, we are looking to identify, support and promote young people with innovative solutions to community problems that leverage technology. As a start, we have identified and supported a youth to design a non-contact leg pedal hand washing machine and soap dispenser to prevent COVID 19. We believe this will facilitate job creation among our youth as well as give them a platform to find expression to their dreams,” Mr Dare stated.