Business leaders chart path for youth employment
Goal 8 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved without the input of the private sector.
It focuses on job creation and economic development. This is why the Foundation for Corporate Social Responsibility and Children’s Rights (“CSR Children”) took the lead in engaging chief executive officers (CEOs) and business leaders in the Nigerian private sector at the 3rd Annual CEO Forum hosted by the organization in Lagos .
CSR Children (under the auspices of The Children and Business Network) were commended by the former Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola at the inaugural CEO Forum in 2013, where he delivered the Keynote Address, for being the first not for profit organization in Nigeria to actively engage the private sector to support children rights and their development.
With the role of the private sector being stressed by the United Nations as pivotal to the success of the new Sustainable Development Goals, the 2015 edition of the Annual CEO Forum by CSR Children has been viewed as a pioneering step especially with its focus on Youth Unemployment.
CEO of CSR Children Ms. Toyin Olakanpo, in her Welcome Address stated that her organization had to prioritize this topic of youth unemployment because over 50% of the population in Nigeria were children ages 15 years and under. She identified them as the ticking time bomb — 80 million children who in a few years will be looking for work and job opportunities; children who if not taken care of by civil society, private sector and government will become another statistic in the already aggressive youth unemployment figures.
Nigerian representative to the United Nations industrial Development Organisation Dr. David Tommy, who delivered the Keynote Address summed it all up in his statement: “if we don’t take care of the young, the young will take care of us”
The forum was well represented by top business leaders from Nigeria’s buoyant private sector including; West African Representative for Ford Foundation, Innocent Chukwuma; CEO of Nestle Nigeria Plc, Dharnesh Gordhon; CEO of Jumia Africa, Nicolas Martin; CEO of Siemens Limited, Onyeche Tifase; Chairman of Promasidor Keith Richards; Chief Operating Officer from the Tony Elumelu Foundation; CEO of Doreo Partners, Kola Masha; CEO of Robert Bosch Limited, Ghislain Noumbessy; Commissioner for Lagos State, Gbolahan Lawal; Former Commissioner for Establishment and Training, Jide Sanwoolu; and the Permanent Secretary for Youth and Sports Development, Lagos State, Hakeem Muri Okunola.
Senior management from Etisalat; GIZ; UBA Bank Plc; UBER Lagos, AACE Foods, Fate Foundation; the African Artist Foundation; ETIWA; International Institute of Tropical Agriculture; and the German Chamber of Commerce were all represented.
he diplomatic community also joined the discussions with the Swiss Deputy Mission, Dr. Daniel Cavegn and the German Consulate Mr. Ingo Herbert as special guests.
Glamour and beauty was also in attendance on the Creatives Industry panel led by Nollywood’s Kate Henshaw and Fashion Mogul Lanre Da Silva- Ajayi.
16 expert panelists and 4 speakers were on ground to deliberate on private sector solutions for youth unemployment across various industries including vocational training; e-commerce; fashion; film and music; the arts; manufacturing; agriculture; engineering; entrepreneurship.