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NUTM and African Development Bank’s Youth Skilling Initiatives

Image: L-R: Gauthier Bourlard, Director and Special Adviser, Office of the President, African Development Bank Group; Demola Adeyemi Bero, Board member, NUTM; Dr Omobola Johnson, Dean, NUTM Scholars Program and Governing Board Member; African Development Bank Group President Dr Akinwumi Adesina; Dr Babs Omotowa, NUTM President; African Development Bank Group Vice President for Private Sector, Infrastructure, and Industrialisation Solomon Quaynor. African Development Bank Group

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank Group, along with the leadership of the Nigerian University of Technology and Management (NUTM), say that providing Africa’s youth with quality education and necessary skills for the future is crucial. They believe that this is important for the development of both the continent and the world.

Dr. Adesina expressed concern that Africa’s 477 million young people are not being adequately supported, “We are not harnessing their skills, talent and creativity,” he says.

The NUTM, established in 2020 in Lagos, Nigeria, is a non-profit academic institution that aims to set high standards and produce leaders in technology and management. The university is focused on creating a strong brand with global standards to nurture future leaders in these fields. Dr. Adesina highlighted the need to harness the potential of Africa’s youth to ensure their contribution to the continent’s development and the global community.

With the projection that by 2050, one in every four people in the world will be African, the quality of education and skills among young Africans becomes even more critical. “The quality of young Africans will be key to the development of Africa and the world,” said Dr Omobola Johnson, Dean, NUTM Scholars Program and Governing Board Member, who was accompanied by the president of the University Dr Babs Omotowa and Board member Demola Adeyemi Bero.  

The first building (a model school) in Ekiti Knowledge Zone.

The university’s leadership, is committed to preparing young Africans to meet the challenges of the future and become leaders in technology and management.

During the meeting with the University’s Board members, Adesina expressed his approval of their actions, stating that they were aligned with the Bank’s objectives. “What you are doing is in line with what the Bank is doing,” Adesina highlighted, pointing out several initiatives the Bank is rolling out in various countries across Africa.

One of the examples he provided was Nigeria, which received $80 million from the African Development Bank in November 2023. This funding was approved by the Board of Directors and aimed at developing a knowledge zone project in Ekiti State. The Ekiti Knowledge Zone focuses on promoting digital innovation and entrepreneurship, with the goal of creating 26,000 jobs and contributing approximately $14 million in net economic benefits annually. Additionally, the project aims to attract businesses from Lagos to the zone.

Adesina also urged the university management to consider establishing knowledge zones in other parts of the country and the continent. The Bank has previously financed similar projects in Cabo Verde and Senegal.

The Bank Group president also highlighted the successful launch of the iDICE program, an innovative initiative that was introduced a year ago. With a substantial investment of $618 million, this program aims to foster the growth of digital and creative enterprises. The impact of this initiative is projected to be significant, as it is expected to generate approximately $6.4 billion for Nigeria’s economy and create 6 million job opportunities for young Nigerians.

In addition to the iDICE program, the African Development Bank has also supported the Youth Entrepreneurship and Investment Bank (YEIBs) project. This project focuses on providing financial and technical assistance to young entrepreneurs and their businesses. Notably, the Bank’s Board of Directors approved $16 million for Liberia’s program in July, setting a positive precedent for Nigeria to follow suit.

“We must become the workforce of the world,” Adesina said, pledging more cooperation with NUTM and other African learning institutions. “We have a lot of work to do making sure they (Africa’s youth) have the right skills in the new world trajectory.”

Lynn Brown
Lynn Brown
Lynn is a content marketer that focuses on brand storytelling through digital platforms. Skilled in a background of web development, search engine optimization and content production, Lynn is excited to utilize over 10 years’ experience in digital marketing to help grow the ecosystems that support Africa’s very young entrepreneurs to ensure their success.

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