National Youth Policy and Advocacy
Am Ebiho Agun from Nigeria: My country (Nigeria) has a National Youth Policy, which was recently reviewed in the year 2009. During the process of developing the policy, a number of priority themes that pose the greatest challenge to youth in Nigeria were identified and strategies were designed in the policy to deal with these issues. Youth and Employment is one of those priority themes and self employment creation (Youth Entrepreneurship) is listed as a strategy to promote youth employment in Nigeria.
Other priority themes that promote youth entrepreneurship are the Youth and Agriculture Component, which outlines strategies to promote youth involvement in the Agricultural sector in order to boost the Nigerian economy, while also providing opportunities for the emergence and sustenance of youth agro-business entrepreneurs.
Providing quality education for young people is another priority theme in the policy which has strategies outlined to promote youth entrepreneurship by providing vocational opportunities for youth to make them self reliant
A segment in the policy also outlines the institutional framework that will ensure effective implementation of the policy and one of the components of this segment is the establishment of a Youth Development Fund. The Youth Development Fund when fully established by the government of Nigeria is expected to provide the funds to finance all youth development programmes conceived in relation to the implementation of the National Youth Policy, Youth Entrepreneurship inclusive.
Thanks Am Ebiho Agun for your response. It is interesting that your discussion has also highlighted on the institutional frameworks proposed to implement the youth policy, in a majority of instances very good policy ideas get 'killed' because of the absence of institutional/structural frameworks for implementation. This is a very critical point that advocacy messages should incorporate - development of policies and 'effective' institutional frameworks. Again like Namibia there is mention of the non-traditional youth sector - agriculture. Are there any indications that Government is providing adequate incentives to make young people venture into Agriculture?
Presently the government of Nigeria has earmarked a certain amount of money to provide loans for entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector, but these loans are for the general populace and are not youth specific.
However, the Federal Ministry of Youth Development in Nigeria does have some youth specific incentives to encourage young people to venture into the agricultural sector, and these are in form of skills acquisition training in diversified agricultural production and processing, as well as provision of small grants for trainees to set up agricultural enterprises. The government is also working on expanding these initiatives
Thanks Am Ebiho, I note that the Federal Ministry of Youth has programmes focussed on encouraging young people into agriculture - are young people receptive to the idea? In a majority of instances young people associate agriculture with 'dull' life, no fancy city life etc.......has the Government carried out some effective advocacy to influence young people towards positive thinking about agriculture?
Thanks Nellie, You got that right. Young people in Nigeria are not different; they also find agriculture very dull, especially sectors like crop production. Some of them find fish farming interesting because it is less associated with 'Farm Life'(you can actually set up a fish pond in your home). Still, the interest is very minimal, they prefer being in an office setting than being on the farm.
For now, the ministry is presently planning on shifting focus to training youth to establish businesses in processing of agricultural farm produce(e.g.: Fruit juice Production), but it still at planning stage. The young people would prefer mechanized farming, but it is capital intensive and no funding for that yet.