Nigeria gets lion’s share of MSU, MasterCard $13m investment
by Josephine Okojie
May 18, 2017 | 12:35 am| | | Start Conversation
The Michigan State University (MSU) and MasterCard Foundation have partnered to spend 75 percent of the total $13 million investment in youth employment on Nigeria to help 10,000 youth’s across the country access employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in the agricultural sector over a five year period.
Through the AgriFood Youth Opportunity Lab, the $9.8 million partnership, which was disclosed to journalists at a press briefing in Lagos recently, will focus on youths between the ages of 18 and 24 in Ogun, Oyo and Osun states in the country.
The Ag Youth Lab will assist economically disadvantage, hard to reach and out of school youths to gained skills that will translate into employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in the agricultural sector.
“Working with MasterCard foundation and African partners to address one of the most critical problems facing the continent- youth unemployment-reflects how we purse global vision,” said Lou Anna Simon, president, MSU.
“We see great potential to expand youth AgriFood employment both on and off the farm,” Simon said.
According to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics youth unemployment and underemployment quarter on quarter rate have been on the increase. It increased to 45.7 percent in third quarter of 2016 from 44.5 percent in second quarter of the same year.
“This partnership with MSC is an excellent example of using evidence to address youth unemployment,” said Reeta Roy, president and CEO, MasterCard Foundation.
“By engaging the private sector to develop business opportunities for young people the project also addresses some of the challenges youth face in seeking work,” Roy added.
MSU will lead implementation of the Ag Youth Lab in close collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Venture Garden Group and Nigeria’s Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology.
The Ag Youth Lab will emphasise policy research data and analytics to develop a cost-effective, scalable model for youth training and facilitation.
Using a train the trainers approach, local colleges and their graduates will train community facilitators to expose youth to new opportunities and pass on skills using an experiential learning approach.
“We will work together to establish an atmosphere where youth will be able to create jobs and become agents of food sufficiency as well as ambassadors of character,” said Jacob Gbemiga Adewale, provost, Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology.
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