Start-ups are the future of youth employment, VP says

Ugochinyere Okoro

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Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has praised the country’s burgeoning startups making waves across the world, describing them as the future of youth employment.

He said: “Now… the Unicorns and the future of youth employment. In the past few years, we have seen Nigerian start-ups owned by young men and women grow from scratch to billion-dollar businesses.”

Osinbajo was speaking at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS in Kuru, Jos, Plateau State.

The Vice President highlighted the start-ups: “As of 2021, more than 6 of such companies have been named Unicorns. A Unicorn is a company that is worth over a billion dollars. 6 of those companies started between 2016 in the middle of two recessions and the global health crisis.

The companies are Opay, Paystack, Flutterwave, Andela, Piggyvest and Jumia.”

Paystack was founded in 2016 by two graduates in their twenties. It is a payment processing company. It is now estimated to be worth a billion dollars.

Flutterwave is also a payment processing company founded in 2016 in Lagos. Flutterwave is now worth nearly over $3billion and both companies employ hundreds of people.

PiggyVest, co-founded in 2016 by ex-students of Covenant University led by  Odunayo Eweniyi. It is a wealth management platform that helped one million users save about $80 million dollars by the end of 2019.

The Vice President attributed their success to good government policies.

“What is responsible for some of these successes? Providence and good policies. Providence because COVID-19 was a boom period for online payment systems.

“Policy because Mr. President approved the establishment of a Technology and Creativity Advisory Group that helped to formulate new banking policies to accommodate new tech-enabled payment systems, such that these tech companies could process payments without being full-scale banks.”

He continued: “The Central Bank of Nigeria was then able to issue new types of licences for payment processing. The Federal Government has established a N75bn National Youth Investment Fund, which provides financial support for small businesses in any field.

The Central Bank of Nigeria has also established a Creative Sector Fund. This is for young people in entertainment or technology.

“There is also the new programme called Investing in Digital and Creative Enterprises (iDICE) programme, an over $600million programme that will support young tech and creative sector entrepreneurs through the provision of finance, skills development and infrastructure,” he added.

VP Osinbajo also re-stated the Federal Government’s partnership with the UNDP and the private sector for a programme called the Jubilee Fellows Internship programme.

Over the next 5 years, every year 20,000 students after the National Youth Service Corps, will be given internship opportunities in private sector companies and in public agencies.

The idea will be for the participants to gain relevant career and life skills that will enable them to transition seamlessly into professional, business or public sector careers, while also earning very good pay during the internship.

The Vice President believes that if Nigeria is to ensure a new age of accelerated growth then it must adopt a new strategic direction and policy orientation.

The Federal Government aims to achieve this, through the National Development Plan 2021-2025 which was recently approved by the Federal Executive Council.

Read more:  National Development Plan will fast-track Nigeria’s growth – VP Osinbajo

Productivity is expected to be boosted by this plan by focusing on value addition as the guiding principle for all sectors, especially agriculture, manufacturing, solid minerals, digital services, tourism, hospitality, and entertainment.

 

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