The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwunmi Adesina has charged leaders and other relevant stakeholders to fund Nigeria’s education sector to reduce youth unemployment.
Adesina said that failure to address the rising unemployment concerns in Nigeria and Africa at large will have an adverse impact on the continent’s social and political fragility.
He gave the charge while making a virtual presentation at an event organized to commemorate 100 years anniversary of the Baptist Boys High School (BBHS) in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria.
“As a nation, the demands of a dynamic, fast-changing and integrated labour market globally require that we must significantly invest in building first grade and competitive human capital”.
“We must also improve the educational system to be more resilient and able to adapt to the rapidly changing environment”, he stated.
Harping on the need to increase investments, Adesina said “The investment that any nation makes in education reflects its hopes and aspirations for accelerated development.
“We cannot underfund education. A nation can only go as far as the quality of its human capital, so if you underfund quality education, get ready for underdevelopment.
“The greatest discouragement to education is lack of jobs. The unemployment rate in Africa is extremely high and it reduces the return on education. Furthermore, it leads to frustration among the youths and spurs social discontent”.
As part of efforts to address the nation’s education needs, the AfDB president said no less than $171 million has been invested by the continent’s apex bank to fund education in Nigeria. He noted that different interventions of the AfDB have produced over 500 postgraduates including master’s and doctorate degree holders.
To address Africa’s growing unemployment challenge, the Adesina revealed that the AfDB will be establishing a Youth Enterprise Investment Bank.
Meanwhile, the National President of the Old Boys Association of BBHS, Prof. Kayode Oyesiku has urged Nigerians to invest more in technical and vocational education.
Oyesiku said, “Without vocational and technical education we are going nowhere. We are only deceiving ourselves, we must emphasise vocational and technical in our schools starting from secondary up to the tertiary level”.