The Chairman of Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa, Transcorp and founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Tony Elumelu, has said most of the youth population in Africa are not gainfully employed.
Elumelu made this known during his keynote speech at the ongoing Joshua Generation International Youth Conference holding at University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State.
In his speech titled ‘Unlocking our potential, securing our future’, the philanthropist said the youthful population is Africa’s hope, adding that most of the youth population in Africa are not employed.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to talk to youths of Africa and of course in Nigeria. UBA operates close to 700 branches, it is in every part of the country. We serve over 25 million customers, most of them are young ones across Africa.
As a continent, we have the largest young generation in history of mankind.This youthful population is Africa’s hope.It’s our pride and it’s our potential. But there in also lies the greatest threat to our existence as a continent. We have 65 percent of all Africans below the age of 35 and many of this people are not gainfully employed.The COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown , have exposed the vulnerabilities in our population structure. We now have as a continent the largest young generation”.
Speaking further, Elumelu added that there is a huge need to unlock the potential of this generation as it is vital for the security of our future.
“The urgency to unlock the potential of this generation is imperative for the security of our future.This is why I commend all of you and the primate for choosing this topic for this gathering.
“Youth restiveness is a ticking time bomb and we continue to face issues daily around extremism, banditry, robbery, senseless killings , kidnapping, political-thuggery, to mention but a few.
So the question becomes, what are we going to do to stem this? What are we doing to secure our own future? To me first, there must be a high sense of urgency, dissatisfaction with what is happening and a commitment by all of us to improve things so that indeed these young ones can have a future and by so doing, we would help to secure their future.We must accept that we face a crucial period, in our histry where youths issues must be the main and central issues of our time”.