This Day (Lagos)

7 May 2014

Nigeria: WEFA - Okonjo-Iweala, Tinubu, Kanza Meet With Shapers

The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said delegates to the World Economic Forum will discuss inclusive growth and job creation as this is critical to the world.

Speaking yesterday at the SHAPE Africa 2014 forum, Okonjo-Iweala said: "I am glad that you Shapers are here with us as this is important because it is about your generation."

She said the federal government was doing its best to transform agriculture and make it more interesting for young people.

The minister stated that there was an existing venture capital funds of almost 100 million, supported by the German government, investing in young agricultural entrepreneurs whom the Minister of Agriculture calls agropreneurs, aimed at changing the mindsets of young people and helping them to see agriculture as business.

She further told Shapers that "we are trying to transform the housing sector as it has two major importance; it delivers a social need, solves a social need and people wants roofs over their heads. If a young person in Nigeria starts working today, they have no hope that they can own a house until they retire.

"You have to give them hope. If you are two young people married and working, be has to be able to find a system where you can purchase a house and pay for it over your working life. That's what we are aiming for. In doing that, we also create thousands of jobs but we realise in Nigeria that we don't have those skills.

"We have started with the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development in conjunction with other companies that do this well, chaired by Aliko Dangote, to look at how to train our own people in all these skills so that the jobs that are created will be taken up. It's one thing to create jobs, it's another to find the people who do have these skills to take them up."

SHAPE Africa 2014 has given opportunity to shapers across Africa to meet, discuss challenges and proffer bold solutions in the areas of agriculture, entrepreneurship, education and technology. It has also united the hubs and spurred stronger relationships with stakeholders.

Also speaking at SHAPE Africa 2014, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Oando Plc, Mr. Wale Tinubu, emphasised the need to create a mentality within ourselves that is filled with a spirit of possibility and understanding whereby the measure is the impact, and not just limiting it to our own locality alone. Using the experience of his foundation as an example, Tinubu explained that in creating the organisation, they developed a plan stating what they wanted to achieve, how they intended to go about achieving it, and the time frame for the achievement.

He added that they had spent time researching, before embarking on the project. He explained that they found out how other people were doing similar projects in other places and then looked for people within their organisation who had the passion and could deliver the set goals.

While addressing the Shapers, the Director, Head of Africa for the World Economic Forum, Elsie Kanza, said when she first heard about Global Shapers Initiative, she was blown away by the movement, and by its potentials.

According to her, the global shapers community is the most diverse group and learning from each other is important. She added that it was not just about knowing each other and talking about the problems but proffering solutions together. She further added that if Africans are willing to invest in Africa, other people would invest as well.

"Africans need to take charge and we need to take charge of the things happening in our continent especially as regard technology and education. We need education ministers who are reformers, we also need to ask ourselves why is education failing and this will give us the momentum we need to actually say we need to fix this now," she concluded.

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