Maria Ebenezer. CEO: Emerald Green Ushering Services.

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Emerald Green Ushering Services  @EMushers is a Nigerian-based event hostess agency, providing professional staff for international corporate and luxury social events. Founder, Maria Ebenezer’s entrepreneurial drive was birthed from modelling and her experience in ushering, which gave her the basic knowledge to kick-start Emerald Green Ushering Services.

Though Emerald Green Ushering Services’ clients include multinational and indigenous firms, catering for weddings, birthdays and annual general meetings are also par for the course for the firm.

Why was it important for you to hire only female ushers as opposed to a mixed staff?

Ushering is a profession I have always considered to be best suited to women considering the glamour and hospitality skills that are often required.

I believe women should enjoy exclusivity in this particular profession. More so, I have found that it is easier working with female staff as they maintain a better professional conduct.

Quality customer service is quite difficult to come by in Nigeria. How does Emerald Green Ushering Services avoid this pitfall?

We pride ourselves in excellent service delivery. One of our basic requirements for recruitment is work experience; afterwards hostesses undergo basic training. We are constantly researching innovative ideas to ensure our services are on a par with global professional standards.

Feedback forms are given to my clients at the end of each event to evaluate the quality of our service for improvement purposes. So far, feedback has been great.

How do you handle difficult clients?

Initially, I accommodated excessive, unreasonable demands because we needed to build a portfolio. But now, I decline clients unwilling to comply with our professional standards.

What’s the biggest challenge facing Emerald Green Ushering Services, and how has it been able to overcome or mitigate it?

In our first year, we were enlisted by an indigenous multinational company to bid for their annual conference. Their vendor’s form stated ushering companies were required to have 5 years of experience with renowned firms. Clearly, we didn’t have that and though we lost the bid, I was grateful for the experience because it gave me a clearer picture of what was required to win my dream clientèle. It made me re-strategise.

I put in a lot of work to improve staffing and our brand, and in a couple of months, I landed my first international client and then another.

But like every other service provider, our biggest challenge has been acquiring new clients. Plus, my core focus is on attracting multinational corporate organisations, which require more work as they are highly competitive and often require rigorous processes.

What does the future hold for Emerald Green Ushering Services?

Currently, every business move we make is geared towards our 5-year goal of establishing Emerald Green Ushering Services as a model framework for event collaboration and partnership between West Africa and multinational companies globally.

We aim to be the first firm companies looking for ushers will call upon for their corporate events in Nigeria.

 

My Journey Into Social Entrepreneurship

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Hello, my name is Emmanuel Odufejo , I am 35 year old, proudly Nigerian and fully Lagosian (my paternal grandfather and grandmother are from Epe and Lagos Island respectively). I have a BSc.Ed. in Biology from The Lagos State University and an M.Ed. in Administration & Planning from The University of Lagos.

I am a passionate advocate for self-development and entrepreneurship among young people. I believe that our national survival and global relevance as a continent depends solely on the efficiency of our strategic youth empowerment initiatives and continuous growth and encouragement of small and medium scale enterprises. I have spent the last six years teaching young Nigerians on how to start, sustain and succeed with small scale businesses.

I’ve always wondered how parents complain about their kids “playing too much” and getting distracted from their academics. Growing up, I was a “Jack of two trades & master of both” – playing & reading. I could spend five hours playing football and the next ten hours reading “Famous Five” by Enid Blyton. As I grew older, I discovered “biographies”, those books opened a new world to me, I never knew existed. Somehow, I had a natural tendency to reading biographies of very popular and successful entrepreneurs.

I started my first business in my first year at the university, and of course the only thing I could sell were – wait for it – “books”. I had to stop borrowing books from the library and actually started buying and selling books to my friends. I called it a “mobile library” where you could meet me anywhere and either borrow a book for three days or buy it at once.

After that exciting experience, there was no going back. By my third year at the university, I had teamed up with a friend who was studying Fisheries. He had all the “technical knowledge” while I brought in the business enthusiasm (there really wasn’t anything close to business experience or expertise then and quite frankly, we didn’t care) and we started rearing & selling catfish. We later delved into selling chickens and puppies. We were student entrepreneurs; at that point, we weren’t really concerned about making profits. We just loved selling and making money.

While in school, I also discovered my public speaking abilities and trust me I wasted no time in offering my services to family and friends as a “master compere” or mc at their various functions at first for free but I later started earning some money doing that. After I graduated from the university, I began getting offers to do mc at wedding receptions and corporate events plus a host of other youth seminars.

In 2012, I met two young teenage orphan boys who were referred to me by a local tailor to help clean my new apartment for a small fee. Junior & Tunde had lost both parents to a boat accident few years back. Consequently, they have been forced to drop out of school & left to roam the streets exposed to a world of crime & juvenile delinquency. Fortunately, they chose to abstain from crimes & instead began to do menial jobs for small fees within their community.

I thought deeply within myself, “How do you help an uneducated, unskilled, & unemployed youth”? How do we deal with the continuous rise of this dangerous army of unemployed, uneducated & unskilled youth In Nigeria?

This gave birth to both my first book titled “Dare To Stand Out – for Young Entrepreneurs” & also the creation of Master Mindz Afrika, a youth-led NGO platform that provides entrepreneurship & vocational skills training programs for uneducated & unskilled youth.

The long term vision is to build an army of youth with valuable skills set with which they can either find stable employment opportunities or venture out into sustainable small scale businesses.

My vision for Master Mindz Afrika, going forward, is to be the foremost youth-led impact investing institution that trains, funds & celebrates young men and women who will become catalysts for social change, sustainable growth and rapid development in Africa.

LEAP Africa Graduates 20 Social Entrepreneurs, Inducts 20 More Into The SIPA In Abuja

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LEAP Africa

The stage was set as visitors walked in anticipating an exceptional event! and indeed it was. From the minute the MC picked up the mic to begin the programme till the programme rounded off with a vote of thanks by Mrs, Iyadunni Olubode, LEAP’s Executive Director, the agenda for the day was billed to deliver a memorable experience.

LEAP Africa with support from Union Bank Nigeria, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, and International Youth Foundation (IYF) on November 12 2015, held its annual Social Innovators Awards in Abuja, Nigeria capital city to celebrates 20 social entrepreneurs.

Anchored by Ofi Ejembi, On Air Personality at Nigerian Info Abuja the event kicked off at 10:30 am. Dr. Nadu Denloye LEAP’s Board Chair opened the event with a warm speech which captured the essence of the Awards while our speakers – Mr. Bosun Tijani, CEO & Co-founder Cchub; Maria Eitel Chairman…

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Why Skills Before Entrepreneurship? – Naomi Lucas

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IMG-Handyman-Skills

Naomi Lucas’ passion for empowering youths in search of job opportunities is epic. In a continent where the youth population is growing and job placements are a big issue, she is spearheading Africa’s biggest book project which could possibly help change the status quo. Solomon Elusoji writes

From 2009 to 2011, Naomi Lucas visited 32 states across Nigeria looking for young people to work with. At first, she was expectant, optimistic about the wide pool of talent she would have at her disposal. But that optimistic expectation was soon replaced with a shocking discovery.

“I needed between 80 and a 100 people for the project I was working on,” she told me. “So, essentially I had jobs. I sent an advance team to go to the different places and shortlist, so I could come and select the people that I want.”

The problem was, virtually all those shortlisted didn’t even have the rudimentary skills she was looking for. “Going to those different cities, spending time that I didn’t have, talking to all of these young people, I realised that I would speak to 40 people and still can’t find one person that I could work with it. It was unbelievable. I kept asking myself, is this for real? Are these the people that are looking for jobs? They are never going to find work.”

She became very concerned at the pathetic situation, but due to the pressures of work and resources, she didn’t get to do anything about it, until 2012 when she set up Graduate Pro, a company designed to bridge the gap between graduates and today’s workplace, using the power of audio-visuals, young people’s attraction to the creative industries and the current pervasiveness of internet and mobile technology.

“I felt that I needed money to do what I wanted to do, but I found out I could start from where I was,” she said. “So I set up a blog where I started talking about the things that I felt young people should know to help them excel in the job market. There was also an email where I encouraged young people to send in their concerns and all that. That email address became like a hub. Looking at all of the issues that young people were dealing with, I realised this was a full time job. That was when I began to think that there has to be a way to just get to this people fast without having to wait for when I have money.”

That thinking led to Naomi launching an audacious audio-book project titled, ‘I’m A Graduate, Now  What?’. The book, specifically aimed at addressing unemployment among Africa’s youth population, will feature exemplary Nigerians selected from a wide range of industries across Nigeria. These Nigerians will each narrate a chapter of the book, under the supervision of a Voice Coach and a Creative Director.

Confirmed narrators for the project include Chocolate City’s Audu Maikori, popular actors, OC Ukeje, Chinedu Ikedizie, comedian, Ayo Makun, and motivational coach, Lanre Olusola.

Others include: Segun lawal, Yemi Amusan, Dare Art Alade, Chioma Omeruah, Jane Maduegbuna, Michelle Aisha Bello, Kola Oyeneyin, Nimi Akinkugbe, Japheth Omojuwa, Andre Blaze Hensaw, Moses Siasia, Lydia Idakula Sobogun, Ojoma Ochai, Femi Longe, Dike Chukwumerije, Misan Rewane, Aisha Augie-Kuta, Jimi Tewe, Nuhu Kwajafa, Femi Obong Daniels, Sage Hasson, Jodie Odiete, Amanda Kirby Okoye, Dayo Israel, Alkasim Abdulkadir, and Wana Udobang.

“We didn’t start out for it to be Africa’s biggest book project; it was something that we stumbled upon,” Naomi told me in-between one of the audio-book’s recording sessions. We were outside the studio, on a gravelled driveway, the sun shimmering above.

“Essentially, when I finished the book, I was looking at publishing it traditionally,” she said, “but I was a bit concerned because I know the kind of people I am trying to reach – young people do not read. So, I kept thinking of ways to present the content that will ensure they consume it. Then I realised there is a very strong music culture within Nigeria and Africa: young people are passionate about music. So, if they already had earpieces and earphones jammed in, I might as well plug into the culture. And that’s how the idea for the audio-book came in.”

But why didn’t she read the entire book herself? Why did she decide to bring in eminent Nigerians to do the job?

“It was driven by the need grasp young people’s attention, because I believe what I am trying to say is very important,” she told me. “And if I’m going to grasp their attention, I had to look for people that young Nigerians respect, look up to, want to be like? Who are the people who have done stuffs, and are doing stuffs? So, that’s how we came up with our list. Then we wrote the letters and began to talk to all of these people. It took us about three to four months of relentless pursuing to get them committed to the project.”
The book project will not just be limited to Nigeria or audio-media.

“My overall objective is to take this global, but we are starting with Nigeria and, of course, Africa. In every single country where we are able to make an inroad, we would get the same number of professionals in that country to read the book. So, this is the Nigerian edition. Ghana is on standby, Zambia is on standby, Ethiopia is on standby.

“The book will explore the entire trans-media spectrum. For the print version, I’m working very strongly with a couple of my commonwealth colleagues, to see how we can incorporate workbooks into it. And I would like for it to be illustrated as well.

“One British-Nigerian movie director has approached me saying she would like to shoot a movie, using the contents. We are releasing as an e-book. I’m hoping we can use the content to generate a web series. I’m hoping that we can use it on radio as drama, because most of the chapters start with skits, very hilarious skits.

“Why all of these components are important to me is because I know how young people work, I know that learning styles have evolved. I know that for one person radio may appeal, for another person it might be a book; so, I just want to make sure that I reach as many young people as possible.”

Interestingly, Naomi’s book project is simply a means to an end. She wants to use sales of the audio-books and other media- related products to raise funds and execute boot-camps across Africa, because she feels that the concerns that young people are dealing with “cannot be solved with one-day workshops. We have some serious skill issues, and they need to be addressed.”

“The book is just first-aid,” she said, underlining the need to set up boot-camps across Africa. But, “It is everything you need to know, to be able to understand how the African marketplace works; so that you don’t go out looking clueless and acting clueless. And, of course, we peppered it with a lot of real-life experiences, so that when you pick up the book and finish, you will know what to do.”

For Naomi, there are two ways the African continent can solve unemployment. One is short term, and includes skilling up the population, while the other is long term, restructuring the entire educational system.

“What we need to do now is to tell the honest truth: the young people that we have are not suitable for the workplace. That’s the reality. We need intensive skills acquisition strategies. We just need to cluster young people by interest, by the things that they want to do, and make sure that they have the necessary skills to function. Employers have made very specific demands, but the ones on ground can’t supply,” she said.

“Then the long term: we need to fix the curriculum to reflect the realities of today’s marketplace. My lecturer taught me with his lesson notes. We need to do intensive teacher training. The lecturers and facilitators are not prepared for today’s environment. Computer literacy amongst teacher is still a problem till today. How can you relate with a young person when you don’t even know how to use the tools that he’s conversant with?”

She argued that there are jobs, but the required skills to fill them are lacking. “It’s not a popular thing to say, but that’s the truth,” she mused when I pointed out that not a few persons would disagree with her.

According to her, there is unemployment in Africa because “there are no people to help businesses grow, so the capacity of businesses to employ people is very limited. If I have three fantastic sales people and the business expands, and we need to open a new branch, what do you think will happen? Who’s going to run the new branch? People. But if I’m managing one very exasperating sales person that does not know how to use an excel sheet, I’m going to be struggling with him until I fire him. I won’t have the capacity to recruit someone else.

“In a sense, it looks like I’m anti-entrepreneurship, but that’s not true. I heard the story of a lady who started a business with ten million naira from YouWin. Three months into the business, she had fired and recruited three batches of staff, and the business was going downhill. She had money, but she didn’t have manpower.

“I’m saying that entrepreneurship schemes are compounding a problem. It is like washing the leaves of a diseased tree. The tree is still diseased; and what is this disease: we don’t have skills. So, if you empower 50,000 entrepreneurs, who is going to do the work? Entrepreneurs need a workforce. The first place to start is to skill-up. When you do that, businesses will expand, accommodate more people, who will learn, grow through the process, spin-off, and then do their own thing.”

Youth Unemployment in Nigeria: A Situation Analysis – By Tunji Akande

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The State of Youth Unemployment in Nigeria

Table 1: National Youth Unemployment Figures by Gender and Geography, 2008-2012.

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Figure 1: National Youth Unemployment Figures (15-34 years) by Education, 2008-2012

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Nigeria’s population is said to have reached about 167 million people in 2012 (National Bureau of Statistics). The National Population Commission (NPoC, 2013) states about half of the population is made up of youth, defined as individuals between 15 and 34 years of age. Unfortunately, as the youth population grows, so does the unemployment rate. In fact, unemployed youth numbered about 11.1 million in 2012. Here we explore a number of trends in youth unemployment in Nigeria and discuss various government programs attempting to address the problem.

First, in terms of age, younger youth struggle even more to find jobs: At least two-thirds of unemployed youth are between 15 and 24 years of age. And, in terms of gender, available statistics show that a majority of unemployed youth are female. As shown in Table 1, women accounted for more than 50 percent of unemployed youth between 2008 and 2012.

Analysis of youth unemployment by geographical/settlement location (rural and urban areas) indicates that youth unemployment is mostly in rural areas and rapidly growing: From 2010 to 2011, the share of unemployed youth in rural areas increased from 47.59 percent to 59.95 percent. The population of unemployed youth in rural areas rose from 2.9 million in 2008 to about 5.9 million in 2012.

Relatedly, in terms of education, from 2008-2012, over half of unemployed youth did not have an education past primary school (see Figure 1). This particular group has consistently accounted for over 50 percent of all unemployed youth. However, graduates of tertiary institutions also seem to be badly hit by unemployment too—making up about 20 percent of youth unemployment and often remaining unemployed for upward of five years after graduation (NISER, 2013).

Several factors may be blamed for the prevalence of youth unemployment in Nigeria. There is a high population growth rate—3.5 percent per annum—which accompanies an already large national population of over 167 million people. In addition, deficient school curricula and poor teacher training have contributed to the failure of educational institutions to provide their students the appropriate skills to make them employable. Since schools in rural areas are generally more deficient in infrastructure, teaching facilities and teacher quality than schools in urban areas, this may help account for the high growth in rural unemployed youth. In fact, some experts suggest that the major jump in rural youth unemployment in 2011 (see Table 1) could be due to the mass failure in national examinations conducted among final-year secondary school students in 2010, which made many of them unemployable in 2011.

In addition to these supply factors, there is a lack of vibrant industries to absorb competent graduates. This obstacle was in part caused by an infrastructural deficit and a debilitating structural adjustment program (SAP) implemented by Nigeria in the 1980s, which led to the closure of many industries and from which the country is yet to fully recover. It is also well-known that the youth unemployment situation has been aggravated by flawed and inconsistent public policies on employment.

Another reason might be that policymakers have had to confront inadequate information and data that can form the basis of effective planning. As reported in other studies (Asaju et al., 2014 and Iwayemi, 2014), employment data are very hard to obtain, even from statutory institutions and agencies established for gathering socio-economic data. Where unemployment registers exist at all, they are limited to urban areas, and, in fact, not all those searching for employment attempt to register. In the absence of such data, policymakers tend to rely on cross-sectional household surveys, which are often inconsistent and full of errors. This lack of data makes it difficult for policymakers to understand the nature of the employment challenge and make informed decisions on how to support young people in the labor market. The scarcity of data on informal employment and entrepreneurship in particular is a major obstacle, given the importance of this sector for youth employment.

Public Policies That Have Worked Best

Ascertaining policies that have worked in addressing unemployment in Nigeria is rather difficult in light of the incredibly high and rising unemployment rate—and at least around 1.8 million youth are entering the labor market every year (Falusi, 2014). Since it is unclear to what extent any given intervention may have reduced the youth unemployment rate in aggregate, it may be more helpful to think of effective policies as those which have delivered on their stated objectives. The sustainability of a program could also be considered an indicator of success.

Different programs have been introduced by various administrations over time to address youth unemployment, which has been an issue of significant public concern since the days of SAP. In fact, youth unemployment became the focus of the social policy of the military government that ruled Nigeria for much of its years as an independent nation. The initial reaction of the government was to draft unemployed youth to public programs such as Operation Feed the Nation (OFN) and the Directorate of Food, Road and Rural Infrastructure (DIFRRI), which provided immediate and direct jobs to participants interested in agriculture.

More coordinated and planned measures later followed, and these are classified into three categories: labor demand, labor supply and labor market interventionsLabor demand strategy focused on creating jobs immediately through public works or creating certain jobs in the private sector aimed at promoting entrepreneurship and skills enhancement. Labor supply strategy dealt with the training and education of prospective job seekers. The labor market intervention strategy focused on improving the labor market and matching demand and supply interrelationships.

However, with the transition to civilian rule in 1999, successive civilian administrations— including the current leadership—have tried to refocus unemployment programs, discontinuing many of the old programs, restructuring some of them and creating new ones. It should be noted that as a federation, public policy on employment has been addressed at the three levels of government—federal, state and local—and that this new emphasis on unemployment has made youth the primary constituency of concern. Consequently, certain institutional arrangements and agencies have been established to promote employment among youth. Three of the current and most prominent programs include the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P), the Youth Enterprise With Innovation in Nigeria (YOU-WIN) and the Osun State Youth Employment Scheme (O’YES), among others.

The SURE-P was introduced in February 2012 and focuses on management and investment of federal government savings derived from proceeds accruing from the partial removal of the subsidy on petroleum products. The SURE-P is the flagship of recent efforts to provide job opportunities to graduates of tertiary institutions. It is more or less a whole range of activities and programmatic schemes, including the Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS), Community Services Scheme (CSS), Vocational Training Scheme (VTS), and Community Services, Women and Youth Empowerment (CSWYE), among others.

One of the more successful schemes of the SURE-P is the GIS, which offers unemployed graduates the opportunity to undergo a one-year internship in firms, banks, ministries, government departments and agencies, as well as in small and medium enterprises (SMEs), relevant to beneficiaries’ disciplines. The purpose of GIS is to help beneficiaries acquire the appropriate skills and practical knowledge that will make them more suitable for the job market. About 50,000 graduates were selected for the first phase of the scheme out of some 85,000 applicants. Even though around 2000 firms expressed interest in hosting graduates, only 293 firms were approved.

This indicates that most of the firms that wished to participate in the program were unable to meet the rigorous selection criteria. To be selected, a firm had to be registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission, show evidence of Value Added Tax registration and possess a Tax Clearance Certificate. In addition, the firm had to submit training and mentoring plans for each of their interns. The firms were further assessed on the basis of their years of business experience and location. A final criterion was that the firm had to pass a verification exercise, which involved confirmation of information regarding its mentoring capabilities and the number of interns it could host.

Companies that met these criteria and were selected to participate enjoyed a host of benefits, including tax rebates, free labor from their interns (the government paid a monthly stipend of N18,000, approximately US$110, to interns) and the opportunity to claim that they are fulfilling some aspects of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) to the community in which they operate. Testimony from participants shows overwhelming acceptance of the scheme, saying it enhanced their job skills, provided them with practical knowledge, improved their chances of employment by the firms that provided their training, and by other private companies, government institutions, or helped them establish their own businesses through an initial capital provided by the government. The number of participants for the 2014/2015 period of the program will be increased to 100,000.

The YOU-WIN program was designed to create job opportunities specifically, again, for graduates of tertiary institutions that elect to go into business as entrepreneurs. Simply put, participants are required to develop and execute their own business ideas that will provide jobs for themselves and other unemployed youths who may or not be graduates. By 2015, the program is expected to have provided 40,000 to 50,000 new jobs, encouraged expansion, specialization and job spinoffs of existing businesses, and enabled young entrepreneurs to have a broad professional and business network (NPC, 2013).

At the state level, the government established various forms of employment-creating programs. The most prominent one is the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OÝES) established by the state of Osun. The scheme provides a series of employment opportunities for participants as traffic controllers, sanitation and environmental officials, security personnel, and other works and services. The World Bank has singled out the OYES scheme for its success in promoting youth employment in Nigeria and has recommended the scheme for replication by the federal and other state governments.

Why Have Some Programs Been Unsuccessful?

Public policies directed at addressing youth unemployment have faced different challenges including finance, the absence of good administration and implementation, inconsistent policies, unimpressive responses from would-be trainees, and unqualified resource personnel handling the training programs. As stated above, programs that were expected to be successful but did not meet those expectations were those created in the 1980s and have not drastically improved in spite of modifications over the years. For example, the National Accelerated Poverty Reduction Program (NAPEP) was too big for its meager budgetary allocation over the years. Many of the available funds for the program went to overhead and administrative costs in offices spread over the entire country, limiting its impact. Similarly, the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) had no openings of its own to engage unemployed youth, providing only vocational training to young school leavers. There have been insufficient funds to provide start-off capital for the youth who complete their training.

While many programs have targeted creating opportunities for youth employment, the outcomes have been greatly limited by a host of factors, including:

Training is not supplemented with loans and not targeted appropriately: According to a recent survey by the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER), youth unemployment programs have concentrated more on training than on other activities that actually provide openings for immediate employment in white-collar jobs or jobs in the small- and medium-scale industries (NISER, 2013). This strategy has not yielded the desired results because the training is often not accompanied by soft loans, which graduating trainees could use as start-up capital in order to facilitate their quick integration into the labor market. Targeting has also presented a challenge. Often, all categories of unemployed youth are lumped together as if they are homogeneous (in terms of education, skill, capabilities, etc.) when, in fact, there ought to be distinctions on the basis of education, experience, and willingness to learn. The lumping together of graduates of primary school with those coming out of secondary schools and/or tertiary institutions makes training not only ineffective but also less impactful.

Weak management, complex structures and inadequate funding hinder success:When you run a multiplicity of programs at the same time under a weak management structure and practice, with inadequate funding, and with several layers of authorities that sometimes bicker among themselves, there is the risk of not being focused and effective. The process becomes complex in the absence of monitoring and coordination of planned activities. Indeed, the responsibility for youth employment policy is split among a wide range of ministries and agencies, often operating in isolation and competition with each other. In the absence of a coherent strategic approach, resources are likely to be misapplied. In addition, public funding is often insufficient and erratic and, indeed, not released fully.

The problem is largely structural and therefore needs structural solutions: The initiatives listed earlier simply bring a select group of youth into employment, but are grossly inadequate to accommodate the army of unemployed youth. Besides, these programs are conceived with short-term gains in mind, and a little consideration of long-term perspective that may change the dynamics of unemployment substantially. The structural changes needed involve taking a comprehensive approach to employment issues in general. This could be done in a way that not only targets youth, but which also looks at educational, training and labor market issues so that dynamic and progressive policy interventions are initiated to address all issues comprehensively.

Demand-side factors need to be considered: A final consideration is to ask whether indeed a policy stance actually addresses factors that limit the demand for labor. Recently, public policy has encouraged youth to undertake entrepreneurship, which can make them create employment for themselves and also become employers of labor. However, in the long-run, the industrial sector must also expand to create opportunities for youth. Industrial expansion must be based on available local resources in agriculture and solid mineral exploitation as well as value chain activities in those two sectors. The development of infrastructure, particularly electricity, will provide the necessary boost to any meaningful approach towards expanding industrial production space and creating employment for millions of job seekers, especially Nigerian youth. For example, the petroleum industry that has dominated Nigeria’s external trade since the 1970s failed to provide employment opportunities for the people, given the technical knowhow required in the industry and so has not been helpful in solving the problem of youth unemployment. What is required (and which is now being considered) is to open up the petroleum downstream industries and train young people to provide services that are required at this level—activities such as welding, pipeline maintenance, security and other services.

Alas, these public policy programs have had a mixed impact on youth unemployment. While a number of intervention programs did address critical needs, others failed to address the needs of youth as a specific group. The management and administrative oversight of the programs has been weak and sometimes problematic, perhaps because of multiple authorities (federal, state and local government agencies) managing the programs. Some have been known to expend more money than is necessary or at least failed to justify the amount of public money devoted to such programs.