World Bank Moves To Reduce Youth Unemployment

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The World Bank has expressed its willingness to help Nigeria reduce the high rate of unemployment among the youth in the country.

Prof. Folusho Okunmade, the Country Representative of the bank, told newsmen on Monday in Abuja that the bank’s disposition followed the Federal Government’s request for its assistance in providing employment opportunities for the youth.

Okunmade said the World Bank had asked the Federal Government to work out a programme outline preparatory to the take-off of the scheme.

He said Nigeria and the World Bank had agreed on the approach to unemployment reduction in the country.

According to the country representative, the Federal Government and the World Bank will ensure that the programme becomes useful to the youth in their quest for self-employment.

“We are interested in activities and programme that work, given the nature of the problem. We think that it is important to look at immediate employment generation.

“So things like public works, welfare programme is exciting to us.

“Because we think that will take a sizable number of youths that are out there on the streets today into some employment at least in the immediate period. “We think such a programme should be linked to training and skill acquisition.”

Okunmade, who noted that the World Bank had its own programme on youth unemployment in Nigeria, said the bank would encourage the Federal Government to integrate some elements of the bank’s programme with its own.

He, however, said that the World Bank would have to verify the unemployment reduction programme designed by the Federal Government to ensure compliance and make sure that funds were not mismanaged.

The country representative said the Federal Government would ensure the proper coordination and monitoring of the skill acquisition programme, while the states and local governments would implement it.

Reports say that at the just concluded three-day retreat organised by the Ministry of Youth Development, stakeholders were asked to find ways of making Nigerian youths productive.