How Nigerian University Of Technology And Management And African Development Bank Are Pioneering Youth Skilling In Africa

President of the African Development Bank Group Dr Akinwumi Adesina and the leadership of the Nigerian University of Technology and Management (NUTM) say equipping Africa’s youth with quality education and the skills needed to meet the challenges of the future is critical to ensure the development of the continent and the world.

Launched in 2020 in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos as a not-for-profit academic institution, the university is building a strong brand with world class standards to produce technology and management leaders.

“We are not doing well enough for Africa’s 477 million youths. We are not harnessing their skills, talent and creativity,” Dr Adesina told members of the university’s Board who called on him at the Bank’s headquarters in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

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By 2050, one in every four people in the world will be African and therefore, “the quality of young Africans will be key to the development of Africa and the world,” said Dr Omobola Johnson, Dean, NUTM Scholars Program and Governing Board Member, who was accompanied by the president of the University Dr Babs Omotowa and Board member Demola Adeyemi Bero.  

Adesina told the University’s Board members, “What you are doing is in line with what the Bank is doing.” He highlighted several initiatives the Bank is rolling out in various countries across Africa.

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He gave the example of Nigeria which last November received $80 million from the African Development Bank, following approval by the Board of Directors, to develop a knowledge zone project in Ekiti State.

The Ekiti Knowledge Zone is promoting digital innovation and entrepreneurship, will generate 26,000 jobs, and contribute about $14 million annually in net economic benefits. The project also aims to attract businesses from Lagos to the zone.

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Adesina told the management of the university to consider establishing knowledge zones in other parts of the country and continent. The Bank has financed similar projects in Cabo Verde and Senegal.

The Bank Group president also pointed to the launch a year ago of Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (iDICE) program. The initiative, with investments of $618 million, is expected to create 6 million new jobs for young Nigerians and generate nearly $6.4 billion into the Nigeria’s economy.  

Another African Development Bank-financed initiative is the Youth Entrepreneurship and Investment Bank (YEIBs) project which is providing financial and technical support for young entrepreneurs and their businesses. Last July the Bank’s Board of Directors approved $16 million for Liberia’s program. Nigeria could follow suit.

“We are making progress building a great institution in Africa, to solve Africa’s problems” said Dr Babs Omotowa, the president of the University.

“We must become the workforce of the world,” Adesina said, pledging more cooperation with NUTM and other African learning institutions. “We have a lot of work to do making sure they (Africa’s youth) have the right skills in the new world trajectory.”

The meeting was also attended by among others, Vice President for Agriculture, human and social development Dr Beth Dunford, Vice President for Private Sector, Infrastructure, and Industrialisation Solomon Quaynor.

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