Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the eighth most populous country in the world with a population of 154, 729,000 citizens. Our nominal GDP is $207. 116 billion and we have a nominal per capita income of $1,4011. Nigeria also has the second largest economy in Africa . If I may ask, is this country not blessed? Yet, it is still plagued by youth unemployment which had been one of our major problems in recent years. Both government and the private sector had discussed this issue at forums and conferences but have not found a solution to it. Its continued existence had been linked to lack of power supply and financial empowerment for youths. Youth unemployment in Nigeria is mostly referred to as graduate unemployment and this means that only the skilled youths are seen as unemployed while the unskilled youths are not given any consideration. However, youths are not a homogeneous group and their employment prospects differ according to numerous factors ranging from region to gender to schooling.
As I write this paper, there are thousands of youths in Nigeria that are unemployed and it is as if there won’t be a solution to this problem.
THE EFFECTS OF YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT ON NIGERIA
Various crimes and social vices in Nigeria had been on the increase since mid – 1990s2 and they include prostitution, internet scam, political violence, kidnapping, militancy (in the Niger Delta), drug trafficking, armed robbery etc. The continued existence of these vices has been linked to the scarcity of jobs in Nigeria .
Prostitution, for instance, rose during the mid – 1990s with female Nigerian youths being trafficked to Italy.3 Internet scam had also been on the increase in recent years. Political violence, kidnapping and other vices had also been increasing recently.
These vices have a negative effect on the country because they have been the fear of most foreign investors and they are also giving the country a bad reputation internationally.
CHALLENGES YOUTH FACE IN THE LABOUR MARKET
In Nigeria , it is common practice for employers to ask for work experience before employment. For most graduate youth who have nothing more than what they have learnt in school, it is always a very difficult race with experienced adults. Some youths go up to the extent of getting a post graduate degree but they still don’t get a job.4
It is the unskilled youth, who are mostly migrants from rural areas that are more affected by this situation.5
THE LESSONS FROM EXPERIENCE
Although I’m not an entrepreneur but I gained some experiences on entrepreneurship from a group I joined in my university more than a year ago. The name of the group is SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise). Last year, we did some entrepreneurial projects and I would like to share them briefly.
· Firstly, we did a project called Making CEO, in collaboration with a commercial bank in Nigeria (Guaranty Trust Bank). In the first phase, we educated about 300 undergraduates on the benefits of self – employment and the ethics of business. In the second phase, we partnered also with the GREEN project (an NGO owned by a member of our team) and we taught about 50 secondary school students the qualities of a good business leader.
•Secondly, we identified that our university is one of the few universities in Nigeria that offers Industrial Design. Due to this peculiarity, these students might face ostracism in the labor market after school. To avoid this, we decided to educate interested students of this department the practical application of their course using computer graphical application like Corel Draw. With the training at hand, some of them could open an art studio or a photography shop if they are unable to get a job after school.
The following are the lessons that I learnt as a volunteer:
- Workshop and Seminars are one of the best ways...