Abiodun OBA

 

Nigerian youths have been described as “smart, dynamic and entrepreneurial”.

The president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, gave the description on Sunday while delivering his acceptance speech for the award of ‘Extraordinary Personality of the Year’.

The award was presented to him by Silverbird Media Group.

The AfDB president said the youths are the country’s biggest asset adding that for Nigeria to achieve a “greater future”, there is a need to create an enabling environment for youths to thrive.

“Nigeria’s greater future must rest on the shoulders of its youth,” he said.

“The youth will power Nigeria into a future that the rest of the world will envy.

“Nigeria’s youth are pace setters. Give Nigerian youth an opportunity and watch them thrive.”

He gave an example of Nigeria’s youths taking on the world in the fintech industry, with three companies of young people — Inter Switch, Paypal and Flutterwave each valued over a $1 billion.

Flutterwave alone is now valued at $3 billion, he stated.

“It is time to invest massively in Nigeria’s youth. It is time for youth-based wealth,” Adesina said.

“It is time for youth-based leadership for Nigeria, at all levels. No matter how steep the hill, the youth will climb it.

“No matter how arduous the journey, the youth will make it. No matter how high the hurdles the youth will elevate themselves, with every strain in their muscles, and scale the hurdles.

“I trust Africa’s youth. I trust Nigeria’s youth. Nigeria’s greater future lies in unleashing the extraordinary talents of its youth.”

For youth development, he said the AfDB provided $170 million to Nigeria in December 2021 for the launch of its innovative program – I-DICE, which was designed to further develop digital technology and creative industries of Nigeria.

He said the bank is also working with African countries, including Nigeria, to develop youth entrepreneurship investment banks.

According to him, the new financial institutions will be fully dedicated to financing the business ventures of the youth.

“They will help to renew the spirit of our youth and show them that we trust them,” he added.

“The wave of a renewed spirit of our youth must rise, from the North-West to the North-East, from the North-Central to the South-West, from the South- East to the South-South, the waves must rise.

“Nigeria will ride high if it creates the tide that carries its youth high.”

 

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