Economic diversification, entrepreneurship panacea to rising youth unemployment, says Dangote
President of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has said that the diversification of Nigeria’s economy and creating the right environment for entrepreneurship to thrive remain the best ways to addressing the rising unemployment in the country, especially among the youths.
Many economic experts have over the years raised serious concerns over the worsening rate of youth unemployment with the attendant rise in crime rate as well as the nation’s rising population figures , the Federal Government does not see as a threat to the growth and development of the economy.
Dangote, who spoke at the just concluded Business Leaders/Chief Executive Officers from Nigeria and Kenya Summit held in Lagos, expressed serious concerns over the high rate of unemployment in the country.
“As far as I am concerned, the failure of businesses does not worry me so much like the issue of rising unemployment in the country, which gives me sleepless nights”, Dangote said.
He said he is indeed troubled by the high unemployment rate among youths in Nigeria.
He said: “The diversification by the various levels of government in the country and entrepreneurs remained the only answer to increasing youth employment in all the geo-political zones in Nigeria”.
“Since 1978, when I came to Lagos, government has been talking about diversification of the economy which has not happened up till now. It is also sad that nobody is challenging anybody about how many jobs he or she has created”.
“In reality though, it is not solely government’s duty to provide jobs, it is also the duty of entrepreneurs, but government at all levels must provide the enabling environment. When there are no jobs, people get frustrated and I can tell you that the Boko Haram insurgency is a product of frustration”.
He insists that the diversification of Nigeria’s economy is the way to go, arguing that the nation’s economy should be diversified from the current over-dependence on crude oil exports, adding that when the economy is diversified, the oil sector will only be the icing on the cake and not the mainstay of the economy.
Recall that successive governments in Nigeria have paid lip service to the development of other sectors of the economy including agriculture, solid minerals and steel, which hold more in future that the oil sector, which the country relies upon, as it accounts more than 90 per cent of her foreign exchange earnings.
This over-dependence on oil is currently taking its toll on the economy, which had to slide into recession last year due to the uncertainties in the global crude oil, which price fell below $47 per barrel at some point following the discovery of alternative energy sources, especially by the United States of America, which was before now the highest buyer of Nigeria’s specie of crude oil.