The Executive Governor of Ondo State- His Excellency, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN)
The President of the African Young Entrepreneurs- Mr. Summy Smart Francis
The Executives & Members of A.Y.E
Our strategic partners
Gentlemen of the Press
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
I welcome every distinguished person in this room to this auspicious event. I greet all the young people present here today.
We are gathered here today to mark the 8th Annual A.Y.E CONVENTION and the Unemployment Summit. The organization which started from a humble beginning in 2010 has grown over the last 11 years into a body with 12 million members across 19 countries.
I commend the President, Mr Summy Smart Francis for his foresight and determination in ensuring that he builds networks of stakeholders so that Young Entrepreneurs in Africa are empowered to achieve their dreams. One of his achievements is what we are witnessing today.
This Entrepreneurship summit of the AYE is powered by Ondo State Entrepreneurship Agency (ONDEA) and this is very commendable.
SO, WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF UNEMPLOYMENT ON THE ECONOMY?
Unemployment has a negative effect on any economy worldwide. The result is evident in adverse social impacts such as insecurity, terrorism, bloody protests, and hunger.
For example, one of the worst multi-racial street protest movements of the 20th century was in the United States of America. It experienced one of its most devastating civil unrests on the eve of a presidential election in 1932.
The rioters’ reasons were that about 24% of Americans were unemployed and the government didn’t provide funds to support the jobless and homeless as Local Governments ran out of money. People across the country joined the chaotic demonstrations.
In another clime, the Gulf nation of Oman, which is in the Middle East region of the world, experienced a disastrous protest in May this year. Young people took to the streets in different cities across the country to protest the lack of jobs and economic opportunities.
Coming closer home, Ghana also experienced its ugly share of protests just recently in August this year. Their citizens kicked off a series of planned protests aimed at pressurizing their government to do more to create jobs for the youth. I need not remind us of the painful memories of the “END SARS” protests that happened in our own beloved country, Nigeria, which were sparked off by the youths, most of whom were jobless and without a meaningful source of livelihood.
Now, fellow Nigerians, are we still prepared to handle the issue of unemployment in the country with kid gloves?
LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT JOB CREATION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
I am glad that we are all gathered here today not only to discuss the issues of unemployment but to proffer solutions via:
- The creation of jobs through the instrumentality of entrepreneurship.
- To strategically and creatively execute entrepreneurial interventions that will finally put a rest on unemployment in Nigeria.
I must commend the State Government, under the leadership of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), for taking the issue of entrepreneurship seriously in Ondo State. This he demonstrated by establishing an Entrepreneurship Village in the State.
I am using this medium to call on other State Governments and the Federal Government of Nigeria to take a more systematic approach concerning the creation of jobs through entrepreneurship in the country.
This is because it is a great panacea for unemployment and the vices associated with it. The young people in this country are calling out and yearning for assistance to survive. Not only that, they are also ready and willing to contribute their quota to the economy of this nation, if only we give them a chance.
It is therefore time for us, the older generation, to step back to allow the younger ones to come on board to serve and implement innovative policies that are transformational and trans-generational. If we want our country to take its rightful place in the committee of nations, we need to involve our youths in:
- Decision making
- Policy creation
- Strategy Development
- Corporate Governance
Your Excellency, I am happy to know that your government is practicing an inclusive Government by appointing some young people in your cabinet. This is a good concept as it ensures that all stakeholders are ably represented.
I believe the rich blend of the experience of the older generation and the innovative ideas and energy of the young ones is a recipe for the success of any organization, community, or nation. Therefore, let’s ensure that we employ:
- The right people
- With the right mind
- The right expertise
- The right knowledge
- And the right energy to move our nation forward.
SO, WHAT IS THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT IN JOB CREATION?
Back to the issue of job creation, let’s ponder over the following questions.
- How are jobs created?
- How do people get employed?
- How do people earn a living?
Someone would argue that it is the responsibility of the government to create jobs, while others would say, industries are the ones that create jobs. I believe that the role of governments at the Local, State and Federal levels is to build capacity for Entrepreneurship Development.
This is achieved through the development of favourable policies and creating enabling environments that will allow entrepreneurs to thrive. They must invest heavily in entrepreneurial initiatives & projects, and further enhance entrepreneurship advocacy and literacy.
If our government do not take entrepreneurship seriously today, there might be no need for it tomorrow as there will be no economy tomorrow.
Concerning the role of industries in job creation, we need to ask the following questions:
- Who are the drivers?
- Who are the ones that started these companies and built them till they became Fortune500 organizations that employ thousands of workers?
- Who are the industry giants of today?
You will realize that every conglomerate, multinational and industry today started with an idea from an entrepreneur or entrepreneurs. These are individuals or groups of people who started with a small innovation and grew it to become a big company.
Entrepreneurs would continue to create jobs as one employs two, two employ more and the ripple effect becomes infinite. They would also go on to become industry giants that would ultimately employ thousands and liberate the nation.
It is the belief that this nation, our economy, and our people can be transformed through entrepreneurship. When the government and entrepreneurs work hand in hand it will make any economy flourish faster. As the Grand Matron of one of the largest Entrepreneurship networks in Africa – Africa’s Young Entrepreneurs (A.Y.E), my firm belief in entrepreneurship remains the same.
For example, I started as a fashion entrepreneur and made a difference in the fashion industry. My passion for entrepreneurship paved the way for other opportunities for me and so are the stories of great entrepreneurs in our world of today.
In conclusion, I encourage all the young entrepreneurs here today to make sure that you follow your dreams, gain knowledge and network amongst yourselves. There are opportunities abounding everywhere.
Don’t sit and wait for things to happen, go out and make it happen. Open your minds and eyes and tap into the resources available in this state, identify it and own it.
What I did in my time was to find the available resources, create the right partnerships and make business happen. You too can do that. So, find opportunities in the state, find the right partners, and make business happen. Your partners can be local or international. Harness this unemployment summit and make the most of it.
Finally, I congratulate every participant present at today’s summit and I wish you all the best in your deliberations. As usual, let’s say this together, Africa’s Young Entrepreneurs, if you can ACHIEVE this much alone … How much MORE can we achieve TOGETHER!!!
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria. God bless Ondo State and God bless all our entrepreneurs. Thank you.