The Federal Government says it plans to expose more than two million youths nationwide with innovative products and services to the global market through an online portal, ”Nigeriafy”.
The Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Mr Solomon Dalung, said this on Thursday in Abuja at the launching of the ‘Nigeriafy’ portal with the theme “Youth Innovators are Assets to the Nation”.
The ministry organised the event in collaboration with the George Oni Youth Empowerment Initiative (GOYEI) and in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) gathered that Mr George Oni, a young entrepreneur and initiator of GOYEI, developed the portal.
Dalung said the ministry was collaborating with GOYEI to demonstrate the commitment of the present administration to boost youth development and empowerment.
The minister, who was represented by Mr Chinyeaka Ohaa, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, said that the portal would also facilitate the creation of 100,000 jobs yearly.
He said that the ministry would also mobilise network of entrepreneurs and innovators, and create a link with the youths, especially those who keyed into the portal.
According to Dalung, the first 12 best innovators that registered on the portal will be assisted with $1,000 each as seed money for their innovation.
The minister lauded Oni’s initiative, saying the ministry will collaborate with other relevant ministries, departments and agencies of government to sustain the initiative.
“The launch of this portal could not have come at a better time when unemployment has become a huge global challenge facing various countries of the world and Nigeria is not exempted.
“If this problem is not tackled, the nation will continue to face increasing waive of frustrated youths with the tendency toward cultism, prostitution, armed robbery, militancy, drug abuse and child trafficking, among others.
“The ministry in line with its mandate will collaborate with relevant stakeholders to ensure that Nigerian youths are empowered, engaged, promoted and projected to the global world,’’ Dalung said.
The Chairman, House Committee on Youth Development, Rep. Segun Adekola, assured the ministry and GOYEI of the National Assembly’s (NASS) cooperation and collaboration to fulfilling the objectives of the project.
Adekola said that NASS would also provide the necessary legal framework and environment conducive for the initiative to thrive.
“Youth unemployment currently stands at over 50 per cent.
“According to the 2013 survey by the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER), most of the capacity programmes aimed at addressing youth unemployment have concentrated more on training.
“There is no tie-in to the other critical connective initiatives such as a platform for the connection of innovators and inventors all over the world,” the chairman said.
Oni said that Nigeriafy was an online social networking platform to connect young people globally, especially Nigerians at home and in diaspora, to enable them contribute to the socio-economic growth of Nigeria.
He said through Nigeriafy, grants and programmes aimed at empowering the youth to build their various enterprises and projects will be provided.
“Nigeriafy will also be a launch pad to showcase the talents, resources and innovations of Nigerians.
“Through this portal, youths will be able to showcase their attributes to the global marketplace and open up our talents to opportunities across the globe,” Oni said.