The Minister of Youth and Sport Development, Mr Sunday Dare, has appealed to the youth to embrace dialogue in order to move the country forward.
Dare said this on Sunday in Abuja at the maiden edition of the National Youth Day celebration with the theme “Invest in the Youth, Secure Our Future”. He said that with the protests the country had witnessed in the past three weeks, there could be no better time than now to celebrate the youth and validate their contributions to national economic development.
According to him, the Youth Day celebration is an opportunity to reflect, take stock and chart a new youth action plan that will tackle head-on the issues that confront our teeming youth population. He quoted the President of the African Development Bank, AfDB, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, as saying that the establishment of Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks would help to fully unleash youth potential through technology and entrepreneurship.
He said many of the youth could achieve a lot but for the lack of opportunities, inadequate education that was unsuitable for available jobs and a huge unemployment market caused by a struggling and sluggish economy, others, he said, were lack of relevant skills, lack of credit and access to finance for youth enterprises and businesses and low investment from the public and private sectors.
Dare said that it was time to change the trajectory to one that was capable of lifting millions of youth out of unemployment, under-employment, frustration with the system, dearth of opportunities and stunted growth.
The minister said that the theme of the National Youth Day was apt as it would enable the country to invest more and deliberately in the innovative minds, skills and talents of the youth. He said it would equip them with needed and relevant technical, digital skills and also make them wealth creators, self-starters, employers of labour and leaders in their own right.
Dare also said that without investments in the youth today, there would be no returns either now or in the future.