The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) is targeting the onboarding of at least 2000 youths annually into the non-oil export space to boost economic activities, generate jobs and also increase foreign exchange earnings in the country.
Ezra Yakusak, the executive director, of NEPC, made this known at the launch of the Youth for Export Programme (YEP) held in Abuja on Wednesday.
Yakusak said Nigeria’s population is about 60 percent of youth and this should be a catalyst for economic growth and development. He noted, however, that the country hasn’t been able to properly harness the strength and skills of its growing youth population to accentuate socio-economic growth.
“The future of Nigeria depends on our ability to harness and invest in human capital development and provide sustainable economic opportunities for the youths; The export value-chain holds so much untapped potential which are quick wins for the youths to latch on,” he said.
He said Nigerian youths suffer various challenges which affect their performance in international trade, some of which include knowledge gaps, poor access to finance, limited access to markets, inadequate trade information, complex regulatory processes, etc.
He said the Youth for Export Programme will help to expose youths to practical aspects of export business processes thereby generating employment and driving inclusive economic growth and development.
Yakusak also said it was designed to empower young Nigerians by providing them with the necessary skills and knowledge to engage in export activities, adding that it will provide training and mentorship on the export process, market research, product development, and access to funding and markets.
“We will mentor them, handhold them and take them to experienced exporters so they can engage in formal exports. What we want to achieve is to curb unemployment and generate foreign exchange,” he said.
The ED said this project was a public-private partnership with Zeenab Foods Limited, operator of the Nigerian Export Trade House in China, as a major programme implementing partner.
“While the council will provide capacity building for the youths, Zeenab Foods, on the other hand, will provide mentorship and market access for youth entrepreneurs. Already, Zeenab Foods has established the Nigerian Exporters Hub (NEXHUB), an online platform designed to connect prospective exporters to niche markets,” he said.