UN, Elumelu, other global leaders unveil programme to empower 100m youths
The United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Aminat Mohammed; Chairperson, African Union Commission, Moussa Faki and Founder, Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), Tony Elumelu, among other world leaders, have launched the Generation Unlimited (Gen U) Sahel, aimed at maximising opportunities in the Sahel towards equipping 100 million young people with the skills needed to thrive by 2030.
The Sahel region includes Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, The Gambia, Guinea Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal.
The UN chief, who commended the initiative, lamented that millions of people living in the Sahel face insecurity and serious challenges to sustainable development complicated by the pandemic.
She said the Sahel is young with over 64 per cent of people under 25 having more than half of women and girls.
Affirming that the United Nations would stand with young people, she said: “The ongoing conversation between the United Nations and young people of the Sahel launched under our integrated strategy for the Sahel are helping us to understand your priorities and hopes, so that we can integrate them into our support for the region.
“Young people’s viewpoints and approaches are essential to making the Sahel peaceful, resilient and prosperous today and tomorrow. The security council resolution creating the UN integrated strategy for the development of the Sahel is focused on Women and Young people but it remains challenging to make tangible progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
Founder, Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), Tony Elumelu, said the only solution to the challenges facing communities and countries in the Sahel region, including Nigeria, is for people to be empowered.
He warned that poverty remained a threat to people everywhere, noting that there was the need for collective effort to find a lasting solution to the intractable crisis in the region.
He said there is the need to empower and invest in the young ones in the Sahel, to give them economic hope and opportunity.
Elumelu, who highlighted the various ways TEF had empowered many young people in the region, said: “Generation Unlimited (GenU) Sahel will upscale youth programmes and initiatives in the Sahel region under the aegis of the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Coordinator for the Sahel and the GenU CEO.
“The public and private sector will partner with youths to connect 100 million Sahelian youths, 50 per cent of whom are young women, to skills, employment, entrepreneurship and social impact opportunities by 2030.
“More than two million people in this region have been forced to flee their homes, with millions more losing their sources of livelihood. Resources are scarce and opportunities are limited, leading to even more tensions and conflicts between communities in the Sahel.”
The UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake, said there was the need for inclusion and to leverage the partnership to connect 100m youths by 2030.
Launched at the 73rd United Nations General Assembly, in September 2018, GenU is a global multi-sector partnership to meet the urgent need for expanded education, training and employment opportunities for young people, aged 10 to 24, on an unprecedented scale.
The GenU Sahel will focus on the provision of relevant skills, opportunities for employment, entrepreneurship, and social impact for people in the Sahel region.