At the official launch of Young Business Leaders of Nigeria (YBLN), the convener, Temitayo Etomi told a story. It was a story of a young woman who had been looking for and applying to jobs for over two years and she was finally invited for an aptitude test in 2014. She was at cyber café where she met a lady who promised to help her get the job if she could pay a hundred thousand naira. Our young woman did not have the money so she borrowed it from her husband and gave the lady.
We do not know this young woman by name. We know her as a statistic: one of the eighteen people that were trampled to death at the immigration aptitude test tragedy in 2014.
“It goes to show how bad situation has become that unemployment is leading to the death of young people like you and I. The incident is a small reflection of what happens in the larger society,” Ms Etomi said.
Nigeria has an unemployment rate nationwide of close of 40%. In a country with over 160million people, a mostly young population, that makes unemployment one of the biggest problems the country faces.
The launch of YBNL took place at Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos on Tuesday, July 21 and was well attended; the Agip hall was packed.
Speaking about the vision behind YBNL and how she was influenced by her time as a 2014 Mandela Washington Fellow, Temitayo Etomi described YBNL as a network of young professionals and entrepreneurs who put their resources and efforts together and try to rally the numbers to try and help themselves. “YBNL will provide the training, mentorship, finance, network that will enable young people find jobs,” she said.
A panel made up of the Founder/CEO, Digital Jewels, Mrs. Doyin Odunfa, the Founder/Principal Partner, George Etomi & Partners, Mr. George Etomi, and Country Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Mr. Uyi Akpata and moderated by Punch Editor Toyosi Ogunseye discussed their experiences as entrepreneurs and how entrepreneurship can be used to solve the unemployment problem.
YBNL aims to create 1.2 million jobs by December, 2016; to reduce the rate of unemployment by 3% by December 2016 and 25% by December 2020.
Nigerian musician Sound Sultan was as the event as was Nollywood actress/filmmaker Omoni Oboli who spoke about the opportunities in Nigeria and what young people can do to harness them.
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