Why MTN Foundation invests in youths – Director
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MTN Foundation is skilling Nigerian young people in order to bridge the employment gap in the labour market.
The Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation, Odunayo Sanya, announced this during a panel discussion at the 7th annual Project Management Institute Africa Conference, tagged, “Sustainable Growth for Social Good: Connecting Ideas, People and Projects,” held in Lagos on September 13, 2022.
According to Odunayo, the foundation’s investment was fueled by a belief in strengthening the role of the project economy in supporting sustainable and inclusive growth in the region.
“For us at MTN Foundation, we understand that education is a path. We believe innovation is formal education agnostic. We understand that everyone may not go through the four walls of the formal school. Young people think about the future, the gratification and the job they want to do. So, for us, this is critical. It became clear to us what we can do to make an impact. And that is youth development in Nigeria.”
Speaking on the importance of this year’s theme, Managing Director, Sub-Saharan Africa, Project Management Institute (PMI), George Asamani said, “When we look at the journey of young people in Africa, there are certain challenges they come across. Education and entrepreneurship are two avenues they can make it. However, statistics show a wide disparity. So, clearly, there is a gap between the students coming out of school and the jobs. But what we know is, there are lots of organisations working to address this, and that is why we are here.”
A 2020 report by the National Bureau of Statistics put the unemployment rate at 53.4 per cent.
A similar report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) revealed that over one in five young people in Africa was not in employment, education, or training (NEET) in 2020, and the trend keeps deteriorating.
Other experts in attendance at the conference included: Executive Director, Anzisha Prize, Josh Adler; Social Impact Manager, Project Management Institute (PMI), Laura Davidson; Principal Corporate Services & Communications, Mount Kenya University Foundation, Peter Wander, and Secretary General of Committee of Vice- Chancellors, Nigeria, Professor Yakubu Ochei.