Sanwo-Olu, others call for investment in youths
Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has charged leaders of Africa and the Middle East region to place a premium on entrepreneurship and innovative solutions as well as build businesses and structures that would develop the economies of the region.
Sanwo-Olu, who gave the charge at the 2021 Junior Chambers International (JCI) Africa and the Middle East Senate Association (AMESA) Summit held in Lagos, spoke on ‘Building Emerging Leaders for Africa and the Middle East, as the theme.
Represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Abisola Olusanya, Sanwo-Olu, said with Africa’s growing population projected to hit 2.4 billion and the Middle East to be home to 734 million people by 2050, the regions need to urgently invest and build the capacity of young adults and youths to meet up with the challenges of the 21st century and future demands.
“Within this increase, there is expected to be a sizable youth bulge and about half of this population being under the age of 25. Investing in youths and their leadership potential as well as helping the younger generation build their leadership capacity from now will help lay a structure and solid foundation upon which our development in Africa and the Middle East will thrive,” he stated.
Sanwo-Olu noted that the pivotal role youths and entrepreneurs play in developing the economy calls for the need to support them.
“As a Government that understands, appreciates and is ever ready to support and promote initiatives and innovations that enhance youth development and fosters their contribution to economic growth, we in Lagos are doing everything possible to invest in the future of our youths, while ensuring we develop and harness their leadership potentials,” he added.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, in his keynote address titled: ‘Opportunities and potential of trade and investments in Nigeria’, said the government is driving the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), especially through access to finance and markets as well as cultivating investments through improving the ease of doing business in the country.
He added that the development of MSMEs and addressing the challenges of poor packaging, labeling and quality of manufactured goods by MSMEs would mitigate the rejection of “made-in Nigeria” products and ensure sustainability in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and global market.
Chairperson, JCI Nigeria Senate Association, Nneka Itabor, said the collective efforts of everyone is critical towards empowering youth to create positive changes in their communities.
The Chairman, AMESA Summit Committee, Oluwarotimi Adewole, emphasised that leadership is one of the greatest contemporary challenges facing the global community.
He said Africa is approaching the tipping point where the failure of quality leadership is causing dire consequences that are increasingly having negative effects on our national life.
Adewole stressed that except Africa finds creative, visionary, and implementable effective solutions as leaders, future generations will be made to suffer more negative consequences.
“We have the mandate to act and work together as active citizens with members from around the world to create the foundation and begin the implementation of solid leadership programmes that will connect every sector of our societies to act for the benefit of humanity swiftly and decisively,” he added.