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By Stella Odueme

The Minister of State for Youth Development, Mr Ayodele Olawande has disclosed that the Federal Government is making efforts to harness the potentials of the digital economy in empowering the youth and creating sustainable jobs.

He stated this in Abuja when he received the participants of the Senior Executive Course 46, 2024 of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos, Plateau State who were on study tour to the ministry on Tuesday in Abuja.

Olawande observed that over 50 per cent of the country’s population is below the age of 30 and thus have a significant demographic advantage in the digital age.

“Our youths are tech-savvy, innovative and eager to contribute to the country’s economic growth.
However, they face numerous challenges including limited access to quality education, skills training and job opportunities.

“The digital economy offers a unique opportunity for Nigeria to leapfrog traditional development challenges. With the rise of e-commerce, digital payments and remote work.

“Our youths can assess global markets, skills training and job opportunities like never before,” he added.

He maintained that the challenges hindering the growth of the digital economy in Nigeria must be addressed.

He explained that to overcome the challenges, his Ministry has implemented initiatives such as digital skills training programmes for the youths, focusing on areas like software development, data analytics and digital marketing especially in the NYSC.
This, he disclosed is alongside partnering with Galaxy Back Bone to improve infrastructure, Internet connectivity and alternative electricity supply as well as funding opportunities such as grants, loans and venture capital for startups of small businesses with launching of the National Youth Investment Fund.

The minister hinted that his ministry’ s goal is to create an ecosystem that supports entrepreneurship and employment opportunities for youth.

“We recognise that sustainable job creation is critical to Nigeria ‘s economic growth and stability. I urge you all to join us in this journey to harness the potential of the digital economy for youth empowerment and sustainable job creation in Nigeria,” he urged.

Olawande noted that the opportunities and challenges underscore the need for a collaborative effort from all stakeholders to harness the potential of the digital economy for sustainable development.

The Minister who observed that there is a gap between the government and the young people expressed his heartfelt desire for the youths to feel the government.
He opined that the country has the most intelligent youths in the world.

Earlier, the leader of the delegation from NIPSS, Barrister Nima Salman Mann, said they are in the ministry to research, proffer solutions, recommendations and strategies to help government chart its course for the the year, with the theme : ‘Digital Economy, Youth Empowerment and Sustainable Job Creation in Nigeria: Issues, Challenges and Opportunities’.

She stressed that Ministry of Youth Development is very germane to this year’s theme.
“We are in the Ministry of Youth to listen to what you are doing to help the youth, how you are doing it, strategic plans and way forward as well as how we can use the digital economy to chart the goal for sustainable job creation,” she stated.

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