By Cynthia Ezekwe.
The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), has launched the Youth for Export Programme, an initiative targeted at onboarding at least 2000 youths and empowering them with skills and expertise in the non-oil export space.
Speaking during the launch, Ezra Yakusak, the executive director of NEPC, noted that the objective of the programme is to expose youths to practical aspects in export business processes, thereby generating employment opportunities and driving inclusive economic growth and development.
Making reference to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in 2022, he said the country had an estimate of 53.40 per cent of its youthful population as unemployed.
In light of the above, Yakusak noted that the Youth Export Programme has been unveiled to curtail the high rate of youth unemployment, pointing out that different entrepreneurship projects targeted at youth employment by successive governments were of no effect as a result of various challenges.
“Some of the challenges are knowledge gaps in export business; poor access to finance; limited access to markets; inadequate trade information; complex regulatory processes; bureaucracy of business documentation and procedures; lack of technical support services and absence of internship programs required to strategically position the youths into the global export culture, among others,’’ Yakusak said.
He added that Nigerian youths have been faced with daunting challenges in the non-oil sector, which has hindered their efficacious performance in the non-oil sector.
“It is in response to these challenges that the Nigerian Export Promotion Council initiated the Youth for Export Programme. The programme was conceived to address these key constraints by mainstreaming youth participation in the non-oil export sector, as part of the Council’s Export for Survival campaign,’’ he added.
Yakusak noted that the programme will assist in training Nigerian youths to acquire the necessary training and skills needed to participate effectively in the export value chain; create a platform that demystifies fear, risk, and uncertainties usually associated with export by youth entrepreneurs, while providing an opportunity for youths to showcase their talents and abilities to participate in the export market space.