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  • Writer's pictureO. Olowo-Ake

Dealing With the Problem of Youth Unemployment


*Adebukola ADENIYI


As we await the elections and swearing-in of the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it behoves us to reflect on some of the challenges the new administration will confront, especially that of youth unemployment and offer some suggestions on how to deal with this.

Who is a ‘youth?’

According to the standard UN definition, youth comprise the age group between 15 and 24. In practice, the operational definition of youth varies widely from Country to country depending on cultural, institutional, and political factors. According to the New Youth Policy (2019), citizens in Nigeria between the ages of 18 and 29 are youth. While the African youths charter recognizes youth as people between the age of 15 and 35.

What is unemployment?

According to the ILO unemployment refers to the share of the labor force that is without work but available for and seeking employment.


It is a known fact that of all the problems facing the Nigerian youth, unemployment tops the list. when we talk about youth unemployment we cannot deny the fact that there are several contributing factors but let me list a few as follows:

• Poor quality of education has reduced the employability rate.

• Lack of Skills (both hard and soft skills)

• Lack of easy access to start-up funds for aspiring entrepreneurs and Agropreneurs

• Lack of synergy between the federal government and the state government on land accessibility to intending farmers

• Multiple taxations on the state and local government levels.



N power is built to address the issue of youth unemployment and help increase social development. The program targets youth between 18 and 35 years. it is to help these youth acquire and develop lifelong skills and become change makers in their various communities.

‘N-Power’ has two categories

1. The Graduate category (N power teach, Npower Health, Npower Agro, Npower Tax)

2. Non-graduate ( Npower knowledge - Tech ( Hardware and Software) and Npower build)

Nigerian National Youth Policy (2019-2023)

The Nigerian National youth policy is a detailed policy that should bring about a rise in not only youth employment but also youth employability. It addresses the major issues an average Nigerian youth is encountering

• Education, Capacity building and Skills Development

• Health and Health promoting life styles

• Promoting Participation Inclusiveness and Equitable opportunities for all youths.

• Ensure Promotive and Protective Environment for youths

• Effective Partnership- Building and collaboration in youth development

Did the policy intervention conform to the expectation?

Not quite.


1. The President should set up agencies with technocrats who will see to the implementation of the policies.

2. The National Orientation Agency should be more proactive about the sensitizations of these policies. It should employ the use of social media; the youths today spend more time on their mobile devices.

3. Build a critical mass of research: More interdisciplinary in-depth research across different geopolitical contexts promises insight into the multifaceted nature of the youth employment challenge. New theoretical understanding can emerge from detailed and Integrated case studies.

4. Ensure that there is synergy between the Federal and State government. And in some cases, the local government should be brought in.

5. Prioritize process, impact monitoring, and assessment: There is scope to analyze the impacts of existing Youth-oriented interventions. Inclusive and participatory Evaluations could assess (i) Impact (ii) the balance of costs and benefits, (iii) Potential for scale-up, And (iv) participants’ experiences and insights.

6. Involve young people in Research: Knowledge co-creation, Participatory research, and Citizen science are just some of the ways to make research more relevant and inclusive.

7. Tax payment review for entrepreneurs and agropreneurs between the ages of 19 and 29.

*Ms. Adebukola Adeniyi is an Abuja-based entrepreneur

This paper was presented at our policy dialogue, titled, 'An Agenda For The Next President', held in Lagos on February 7th, 2023.

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