By Ahmed Ubandoma
Dr. Betta Edu, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, has sought help from stakeholders to resolve the problem of youth migration in the country.
Edu made the call when she co-chaired the meeting of ministerial representatives from 48 African countries with the European Union (EU) to discuss issues related to youth migration in The Hague, Netherlands.
The event was titled: “Thematic meeting of the Rabat process on migration, youth and development”, co-organized by the Nigerian government and the Netherlands.
In a statement issued on Saturday in Abuja by Edu’s media aide, Mr Rasheed Zubair, she said irregular migration continued to be a worrying issue among the continent’s leaders.
She said the situation necessitated the President Bola Tinubu administration to focus its attention on putting in place new initiatives aimed at providing employment opportunities to Nigerian youths of productive age.
“President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope program is committed to giving young Nigerians with innovative ideas the opportunity to get involved. through different
The minister explained the link between migration, youth and development, adding that sixteen percent of the world’s population is experiencing a growing mobile demographic which could play an important role in promoting development.
“In Nigeria, as in other parts of Africa, young people have developed a strong startup ecosystem that has attracted more than two billion dollars in investments between 2015 and 2022.
“In 2022 alone, 107 startups in Nigeria, founded by people aged 25 to 35, attracted over eight hundred million dollars in investment”
According to Disrupt Africa’s 2022 Startup Report, Egypt raised $791 million while South African startups raised $993 million between 2015 and 2022,” she said.
While expressing her joy at the impressive records of youth participation in innovative and technological startups, the minister urged them to maintain the pace.
“In particular, the giant strides made by the young population in the fields of creative industry, education, leadership, medicine, science and sports are highly commendable,” she said.
Edu noted that a good number of migrants were facing difficulties in the countries of their migration.
“In Nigeria, Japa syndrome, which refers to young highly skilled workers and university graduates migrating in large numbers in search of greener pastures in Europe, has become a hot topic.
“Especially considering that in 2022, diaspora remittances to Nigeria stood at $21.9 billion, but these young migrants face various challenges in their quest for new opportunities.
“Such as the dangers of human trafficking, migrant smuggling, sexual abuse, poor living conditions, organ trafficking, modern slavery and other forms of exploitation,” he said. -she declared.
She expressed optimism that the meeting would offer avenues for deliberations and solutions to the challenges faced by young migrants and celebrate their achievements.
Edu used the opportunity to seek support from low-income countries in Africa in job creation and enabling environment to reduce pressure on young people seeking to migrate.
For his part, Mr. Paul Huijts, Secretary General of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said he was delighted that the meeting focused on a common commitment to promoting active participation.
Huijts also said this would give young people the opportunity to ensure that efforts are made to tackle the root causes of irregular migration.
He commended the Nigerian government for providing opportunities for young people to participate in governance, especially with the appointment of Edu.
“As part of our commitment to actively supporting young people, we must engage in dialogue and change best practices so that our efforts continue to meet their needs.
“Let us listen to the challenges that young people in our country face, such as lack of education, unemployment, low number of young people and weak leadership of women and their involvement in national and international decision-making.
“For Nigeria, President Tinubu is indeed changing the image of leadership and increasing the inclusion of youth and women in governance every day,” he said.
Also speaking, Erica Gerretsen, Director-General of the European Union Commission for International Partnership, said the essence of the program was to inspire participants to increase their voice in leadership policies and decision-making. decision.
“Giving voice also means building stories in order to obtain positive stories on youth migration.
“As well as the potential they have to contribute to the development of their country rather than seeking illegal immigration.
“We are setting an example by strengthening institutional commitment within European institutions. Our EU Boards for International Partnerships are a group of 25 young people from around the world.
“It was established in 2021 to provide guidance on youth participation and empowerment as well as to help use our policies to change narratives in countries,” she said (NAN).
Edited by Sadiya Hamza