Governments in Africa, particularly in the Sahel region to support young people in the region by giving them platofrms on which their businesses can thrive so that they will be able to build up the continent.
This was stated by the Deputy Scretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group, Ms Amina Mohamed, as well as chairman of the United Bank for Africa, Tony Elumelu at the launch of the virtual launch of the launch Generation Unlimited (GENU) Sahel: A Leap For Sahel Youth yesterday.
In her opening remarks, Mohammed noted that with over 64 per cent of the population in the Sahel being young people, there is need for immediate and urgent attention to the initiatives of the young people.
Stating that the United Nations stands with young people, she said, “The ongoing conversations between the United Nations and young people across the Sahel, launched under our integrated strategy for the Sahel are helping us to understand your priorities and hopes so that we can integrate them into our support for the region. Young people’s viewpoints and approaches are essential to making the Sahel peaceful, resilient and prosperous, today and tomorrow.
“The Security Council resolution creating the UN integrated strategy for the Sahel is focused on women and young people it is challenging to make tangible progress towards sustainable development, and the SDGs. The Sahel we want is the Sahel at the centre of a new and positive narrative.
“Young people can build the Sahel if given the opportunity they have already started GENU as an important platform to unite young people and change the story around the Sahel. On this basis, I officially launched the Generation Unlimited for the Sahel. I call on governments of the Sahel, United Nations entities and development partners to give this initiative your maximum attention and support so that together with young people, we can build us a Sahel of their dreams for today, and for future generations.”
On his part, the chairman of UBA, Tony Elumelu noted that there is need for a collective “to find lasting solutions to this crisis in the region by empowering and investing in our people especially our young ones in the Sahel and give them hope.”
Noting that young ones in the regions have had to face the triple threat of conflict, insecurity and poverty as well as loss of livelihoods from climate change in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, he stressed the need to mobilise key partners in addressing the critical role of youth in contributing to peace, security, stability, and economic growth in the Sahel.
“Through our annual TEF Entrepreneurship Programme which provides $5000 non-refundable seed capital, business management training and mentorship for young entrepreneurs to scale their enterprises, we have funded 10898 entrepreneurs across Africa, including in the Sahel region – Northern Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, and Mauritania – who have collectively gone on to create over 400,000 direct and indirect jobs across Africa.
“We are able to create small businesses and generate economic growth in the youth challenging the creativity skills to transform the sahel which more than two million people resist which are forced to flee their homes with millions of livelihoods,” he said.