ECA Commits to Building Capacity for Women & Youths to Support Africa’s Economic Transformation
By Yemisi Suleiman
Delivering a very warm welcome to delegates and guests at Day two of the 3-day hybrid Regional Business Forum organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), on behalf of the ECA and Compass Global Consulting, Mrs. DayoBenjamins-Laniyi ushered in the order of the day.
Discussing Nigerian Export Promotion Council’s efforts to ‘Building towards Regional Integration – Connecting the Dots through Trade’, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, CEO/Executive Director, (NEPC)/President, ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organizations Networkreinstated NEPC’s vision to make the world a market place for Nigerian non-oil. He further informed that “people should come with the ready-made market to the NEPC because they have facilities to push”.
Founder, Magic Carpet &Imaginarium Ltd, Ferdinand Adimefe in his presentation of creating blueprints for women and youth empowerment through entrepreneurship pinpointed that “there’s a major challenge in unlocking the creative industry due to the inability of entrepreneurs allowing their capital to scale during first few years of business”. The capital needs to be accessible in order to create jobs and in return, grow the economy, he said. He further emphasized youth capital accessibility for empowerment by advising that “every state and African country must have free and accessible hubs. The hubs are the universities of the future.
Vanessa Phalla, Director of the International Labor Office, Abuja during a Q&A session with the audience explained some ways to create and maintain the potential of Africa’s young labor force. She indicated that “while a young and growing labor force is a potential resource, decent job opportunities need to be created for new labor market entrants”.
“There is a need for a change of mindset of our political appointees”, Mrs. Modupe Oyekunle, National Coordinator, ANWBN, speaking on how the nations’ policies affect the functionality and productivity of entrepreneurs.
Mr. Tony Elumelu highlighted that “it is only the entrepreneurial spirit that will create the change and development that we desire to see in Africa”.He also encouraged the necessity of breaking barriers in order to enforce transformation in Africa.
The highly impactful day was wrapped up by words from the moderator on behalf of ECA and all coalition partners.