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Mastercard Foundation reaffirms commitment to addressing unemployment in Nigeria

The Mastercard Foundation has reaffirmed its commitment to addressing unemployment in Nigeria by providing access to dignified and fulfilling jobs for 30 million young people under its Young Africa Works strategy, 10 million of which will come from Nigeria.

This reaffirmation was disclosed by Chidinma Lawanson, the Country Head, Mastercard Foundation Nigeria during a panel session themed ‘Jobs Crisis Response’ at the 27th Nigerian Economic Summit held in Abuja on Monday, October 25, 2021.

According to Lawanson, to achieve this ambitious goal, Mastercard Foundation will be providing support in three critical areas including Digital Economy, Agriculture and the Creative sectors which are pivotal in addressing the rising level of unemployment in Nigeria and Africa as a continent.

She revealed further that the organization is intervening in youth development by empowering youth with skills that employers need, helping them leverage technology to connect employers and also enabling entrepreneurs and small businesses to expand through access to financial services. She explained that agriculture, especially technology assisted agriculture has the potential to empower lives and livelihoods and due to the impact of technology, this sector is no longer viewed as menial and commonplace.

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“Our focus is to create access to dignified and fulfilling work. In the area of Agriculture, we want to show the youth that this can be done by helping them unlock opportunities in the agricultural value chain,” she said.

Mastercard Foundation’s approach is to change the narrative among the youth by ensuring that they do not see Agriculture as menial and torturous labour but as a game changer for the Nigerian economy.

“Also, the Digital economy opens up multitudes of opportunities like it did in the fintech industry, part of our vision is to leverage partnerships and utilize digital platforms to solve problems in other sectors”, she said, adding that the organization is willing and open to more partnership with stakeholders that would create opportunities for the youth and foster development for the Nigerian economy.

Also speaking virtually during the session, the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu noted that the administration is doing its best to unlock many opportunities for Lagosians noting that it would continue to create the enabling environment particularly for the private sector to thrive. Sanwo-Olu said the administration had done quite a lot to address the alarming rate of unemployment through several direct interventions that include capacity training programs and direct recruitment into its workforce. He noted that the administration would continue to seek collaboration particularly with the private sector to create the jobs that are needed.

In his own remarks which were also delivered virtually, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo explained that though the high rate of unemployment presents a challenge, the present administration is still making a series of interventions targeted at reducing employment rates in Nigeria.

Keyamo noted that the administration is currently working with donor agencies and partners to tackle the issue by offering entrepreneurship capacity training stating that a job portal has been created to have a real time analysis of the job market in Nigeria.

“We have been working with donor agencies such as ILO and GIZ to increase the capacity of the bandwidth so that we can have real time analysis of the job market. When that is done, we can have a great response to the job demand”, he added.

The Chief Executive Officer, Jobberman Nigeria, Rolake Rosiji disclosed that the partnership between Jobberman and Mastercard Foundation is expected to create entrepreneurs and job creators adding that many youths are currently being trained on soft skills to enable them meet the demand of the 21st century workplace.

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