Published by spring news international magazine online and hard copy
Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu says the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Tinubu is giving young Nigerians productive opportunities with pioneering innovative ideas through different startup initiatives.
Edu who was joined by the European Union and representatives of 48 other countries in Hague, the Netherlands capital, made this known during her opening remarks in an event to discuss disturbing migration issues involving young people in Africa and the world.
Co-hosted by Nigeria and the Netherlands, the Minister was leading the Nigerian delegation to the Thematic Meeting of the Rabat Process On Migration, Youth, And Development taking place in the Netherlands capital.
Dr. Edu noted that exploring the connection between migration, youth, and development was important as the youths between aged 15 and 25 years, who make up 16% of the world’s population are a growing mobile demographic that could play a significant role in fostering positive development.
She further disclosed that “In Nigeria, like in other parts of Africa, the youth have developed a robust startup ecosystem, attracting over 2 billion USD in investment between 2015 and 2022.
“In 2022 alone, 107 startups in Nigeria, founded by persons between the ages of 25 and 35, attracted over 800 million USD in investment”
Aside from Nigeria, Dr. Edu stated, “In Egypt, startups raised 791 million USD and South African startups raised 993 million between 2015 and 2022 according to Disrupt Africa’s 2022 startups report”
The Minister expressed delight that the youth are not only pioneering innovation through tech startups but are also making significant strides in the creative industry, education, medicine, science, leadership, and sports.
On the Japa(migration of skilled persons) syndrome in Nigeria, Dr. Edu explained that a good number of the migrants faced myriads of challenges in the countries of their migration.
“In Nigeria, the Japa Syndrome, which refers to young highly skilled workers and university graduates, migrating in their numbers in search of better education, better-paying jobs, and self-actualization, in Europe and North America, has become a hot-button topic, especially when you consider that in 2022, diaspora remittances to Nigeria, stood at $21.9 billion.
“However, these young migrants are faced with diverse challenges in their quest for new opportunities and avenues for expression, such as the dangers of human trafficking, smuggling of migrants, sexual abuse, poor living conditions overseas, organ trafficking, mordern- day slavery and other forms of exploitation.
“A recent survey of immigrants in the United States indicated that almost 50% of migrants between the ages of 15 and 35 years of age surveyed, had experienced some form of depression or psychosocial challenge”, she added.
The Minister expressed optimism that the thematic meeting would provide a platform to deliberate on the challenges faced by young migrants, as well as celebrate the achievements and innovations of the youth. She called on the developed countries to support the middle and low income countries to create jobs and an enabling environment for their youths in their country as this would reduce the pressure on this young person’s to migrate and seek greener pastures elsewhere.
Netherlands Secretary General,Ministry of Foreign Affairs Paul Huijts, said the meeting was focused on a shared commitment to promote meaningful participation opportunities for young people and ensuring that they meet their needs in an efforts to address the root causes of irregular migration.
Huijts commended President Tinubu for the appointment of Dr Betta Edu, a young professional in his Cabinet to oversee the Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation which also supervises the National Commission for Refugees Migrants and Internationally Displaced Persons,saying unbroken cooperation on migration, and solutions for intelligence growth of young people cannot be needed at any time other than now.
“As part of our commitment to actively support young people, we need to engage in dialogue and change the best practices so that our efforts continue to address their needs.
“Let us listen to challenges that young people in our country’s face like, poor education, unemployment, low number of youth and women’s leadership and involvement in national international decision making. For Nigeria, President Tinubu is indeed changing the picture of leadership and increasing daily the youth and women inclusion in governance.
The European Union Commission’s Director General for International Partnership, Erica Gerretsen, said the essence of the programme was to engage participants to increase their voice in leadership policies and decision-making.
“Giving Voice also means building narratives in order to get positive story about migration of young people and the potentials they have to contribute to the development of their country rather than seeking illegal migration.
“We are leading by example by strengthening the institutional engagement in the European institutions.
“Our EU boards for international partnerships, is a group of 25 young people from around the world, which was established in 2021, to advise on youth participation and empowerment, as well as helping to use our policies to change the narrativesin countried “she explained.
Other Speakers at the event includes the Morrocco foreign Affairs on Africa Cooperation and abroad, Fouad Kadmri, Monica Zanette of International Centre for Migration policy Development (ICMPD) as well as Nigeria Ambassador to Netherlands, Dr Eniola Ajayi a