Experts in the country’s entrepreneurship ecosystem have called on youths to create innovative solutions to tackle societal problems.
According to the experts, this would put youths in a position to contribute towards the country’s development and economic growth.
Speaking during the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Nigeria 2023 conference themed ‘Now and the Future: Youth Involvement & Action for Sustainable Development, said youths have the potential to leverage technology to create innovative solutions that would have a transformational impact in the country.
“With tech and innovative solutions, we will be able to tackle societal problems and attain sustainable development goals. The youths should be at the forefront of these innovative solutions,” Sola Adeyiga, chief executive officer of CreditPRO said.
“We need to change the narrative and come up with innovative ways to engage the youths to contribute to the growth and development of the country and ensure they are part of the decision-making process,” Adeyiga said.
He defined sustainable development as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
He stated that 60 percent of Nigerians are below the age of 25 years, noting that the youths are a critical mass of the Nigerian population and must be actively involved in the realisation of sustainable development in the country.
“The youths must engage in sustainable development from the areas of economy, environment, and society. The UN 17 SDGs all fall under these three major umbrellas,” he said.
According to him, achieving the SDGs by 2030 is a collective responsibility, calling on governments at all levels to be intentional about achieving the goals and providing an enabling environment to drive innovative solutions.
He urged the youths to collaborate to create initiatives that provide solutions to any of the SDGs by leveraging technology.
“They should build relevant capacity in the area of their interest. If you can solve sustainable development problems then you can build sustainable wealth.”
Obafemi Hamzat, the deputy governor of Lagos State, in his keynote address encouraged youths to take the issues of sustainable development very seriously as most of the current leaders in the country today will likely not be at the stage of affairs in the next 30 years.
Hamzat, represented by Rabiu Olowo, commissioner for Finance advised youths to show hunger and desire for greatness, adding that they will be the driving force in the future.
He said while the government has a lot of responsibilities as regards sustainable development, the youths must develop the desire to be part of the change and development in the state.
He advised that youths must keep developing their capacities to take advantage of the opportunities in the country.
He identified the various sustainable development initiatives of the Lagos state government among which is the LSTEF which he is a board member, while encouraging youths to understand the values of the initiative.