To strategically streamline youth in the economic transformation of the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, I have outline a four prong approach, which will ultimately empower the youths in the region.
1. Educational Empowerment
The foundation for development is laid in education system. It is no longer debatable that the rate of progress and development of a nation is directly linked to the level and quality of its investment in education of her youth. Aside from general education, information and communication technology based education has become a prerequisite in empowering and streamlining youths in the economic transformation of the Niger Delta region.
The above is the secret of the emerging economy giants like Malaysia, China, Japan, Singapore and India. Information and Communications Technology education will drive creativity among youths and help achieve marketable skills that would enable them find jobs and also empower them to hopefully start their own businesses, create jobs and meaningfully contribute to the development of the region.
2. Financial Empowerment
Majority of youths in southern Nigeria form bulk of the unemployed in the region, and the situation has not improved over the years. The youth unemployment market consists of both skilled and unskilled individuals who have graduated from the university without securing job in the ever decreasing employment market. Government has put in place various programs like Poverty Alleviation program, and the Niger-Delta Youth Empowerment program to reduce unemployment in the region through the issuance of small loans to youths who have been trained in basic skills like tailoring, welding, Information Technology, hair dressing and other trade related skills. A lot still needs to be done to ensure that youths are not left behind.
3. Building of Independent Power Plants
No form of economic empowerment can be achieved in the absence of stable power supply. Majority of youths in the Niger Delta region have been empowered by the government through the acquisition of trade related skills. They however need constant power supply to ensure the profitability of these trade related business. As part of the federal Government resolve to ensure stable power supply, various Independent power plant and National integrated power plants have been built in the region. If completed, these power projects will help streamline youths in the transformation of the region.
4. Agricultural Empowerment
Agriculture was the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy in the 1970’s, as the country was recognized as a major export of agricultural products. The southern region of Nigeria is blessed with fertile ground, which when properly harnessed will empower the youths. Apart from keeping the youths busy, it would help integrate them in the economic transformation of south-south region.
The federal government in collaboration with the various southern governors has continuously empowered farmers through the provision of soft loans, fertilizers and farm implement to encourage food production in the region. Youths should be encouraged to embrace Agriculture, as a means to empowerment and channeling their energy to useful venture. Specialized training of youths in Modern Agricultural techniques and methods will also help to streamline the youths in the transformation of Niger Delta region.
Youth Empowerment cannot be left for Government alone; all hands from both the private sector, Non- Governmental organizations, Civil society Organizations, Faith based Organizations etc must contribute their own quota in ensuring that youths in the Niger Delta region are streamlined in the economic transformation of the region.