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With Digipreneur, Anambra tackles youth unemployment

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MD/CEO of ABS, Uche Nwora (left); CEO Stanel World, Stanley Uzochukwu; Deputy Gov. of Anambra State, Dr. Nkem Okeke and the Senior Special Assistant To Governor Obiano on Youth Development and Digital Entrepreneurship, Ifeanyi Aniagoh at the 2018 Digipreneur Week held recently in Awka, Anambra State

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), youth unemployment rate in Nigeria increased to 33.10 per cent in the third quarter of 2017 from 29.50 per cent in the second quarter of 2017.

The statistics averaged 21.73 per cent from 2014 until 2017, reaching an all time high of 33.10 per cent in the third quarter of 2017 and a record low of 11.70 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014.

The increasing number of unemployed graduates in Nigeria, which is obviously threatening the sustainability of the nation’s economic development, is sending disturbing signals to the global environment.

Over the years, the government has been confronted with massive unemployment crisis, as many university graduates are roaming the streets without jobs.

And in the face of current global job crisis, the rate of youth unemployment has become alarming.

In what seems like a deliberate effort to take advantage of opportunity provided by digital platform to empower entrepreneurs in the state, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State on Youth Development and Digital Entrepreneurship, Engr. Ifeanyi Aniagoh recently partnered Dr Stanley Uzochukwu, the CEO of Stanel World to host the maiden edition of Digipreneur Week.

The three-day event, which had the support of DigitalPR-Wire, provided the platform for over 1000 Anambra youths to be trained on digital skills, with 50 small businesses receiving digital tools worth N5million.

In addition, the SMEs are to receive six months business advisory and supports from Digipreneur Initiative, including free online PR/Media clinics and mentorships.

Meanwhile, a new milestone was set as 17 startups emerged from the Digipreneur initiative with solutions in transportation, logistics, agriculture, security, e-learning, e-commerce, etc., while twenty 20 other participants were instantly employed by companies that participated in the session under the theme, The Next Level.

The Digipreneur Week featured seasoned experts and facilitators such as Celestine Achi, Founder of DigitalPRWire; Jerry Guma, a Google Certified Trainer; HRH Igwe Emeka Ilouno, Eze Dunu and Traditional Ruler of Ifitedunu; Peter Oluka, Editor of TechEconomy.ng, and others.

Speaking at the event, Governor Willie Obiano, who was represented by his Deputy, Dr Nkem Okeke said the initiative is in line with the administration’s agenda for the youths to raise the pool of entrepreneurs that would dictate the pace in the digital world.

For Mr Bonaventure Enemali, the Commissioner for Youth Empowerment and Creative Economy, the event is apt hence the motivation and mentorship, which provides the platform for Anambra youths to network and take advantage of the growing impact of ICT.

Speaking on the project, Aniagoh, said Digipreneur Week was conceived as an exchange of ideas among the attendees and stakeholders in the digital entrepreneurship space, as well as showcase Anambra as a hub for ‘digipreneurs.’

“Upon my appointment as a Social Media aide to the youth friendly Governor of Anambra State, I was exposed to the untapped wealth creating opportunities lying fallow in the cyberspace in a time that our society is facing serious unemployment crisis and rising insecurity.

First, I was inspired to encourage other youths to embrace positive social media, so, my team started the Social Media Hangout, providing platform for social dwellers to integrate and share ideas and experience. 

The fact that opportunities online can be grabbed by anyone; working class, fresh graduates, undergraduates or even school certificate holders inspired us to do more,” he said.

He continued: “We got convinced that, if we could get internet users to use it aright and get as much citizens as possible to key into the endless opportunities in digital entrepreneurship space, enough wealth will be created to improve the lives of the people, creating a lot of jobs and taking a lot of young people off the streets. 

So, we began to make case for Digital Entrepreneurship and like a miracle waiting to happen, the Governor appointed me as the Senior Special Assistant on Youth Development and Digital Entrepreneurship. 

On resuming office, my team and I, designed the Digipreneur Campaign and moved into action making a huge mark in less than 3 months,” he said. 

On the importance of digital entrepreneur to Nigerian youths, Aniagoh explained, “It’s so enormous that I see it as the ideal solution to ending unemployment crisis.

For the fact that digital entrepreneurship engages both the educated and otherwise, it stands as the only space that can effectively engage the Nigerian youths not minding their literacy level, status or class. 

As a Digipreneur, all you need is your creativity and boom, you are on your way to the top.”

On the aims of the initiative, which will become a yearly event, he said, “We want to eradicate employment by creating job opportunities for the youths; fight insecurity by taking youths off the streets; end hunger by creating wealth; stop internet fraud, as well as erase youth delinquency through self development and value reorientation.” 

It would be recalled that Aniagoh previously served as the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Social Media during his first tenure, but was moved to Youth Development and Digital Entrepreneurship to drive the new vision.

“Settling down hasn’t been difficult because I expected it; things become easy when you plan ahead. 

With the success we recorded in the cyberspace as the Senior Special Assistant on Social Media, my team and I knew it was time to move on; we needed to break new grounds.

So, when we got the news of my appointment as Senior Special Assistant on Youth Development and Digital Entrepreneurship, instead of celebrating, we hit the ground running and in barely three months, we have launched a Digipreneur Platform called Digipreneur.xyz; we have successfully conducted two Seminars; we have launched the Digipreneur Club with 21 Local Government Leaders waiting to be inaugurated.

And just recently, we hosted the first ever Digipreneur Week in Nigeria.”


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