Global initiative aims to boost next generation of Nigerian entrepreneurs

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A new UK-partnered project aims to give more than one million young Nigerians the opportunity to develop business and leadership skills.

The initiative is believed to be one of the largest projects of its kind in Nigeria and could help the country to increase its place in the global economy.

The Association of Business Executives (ABE) and The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Read and Earn Federation have created an online programme to develop the core skills needed to start a business.

Starting in August, the ABE course will be available to 120,000 young Nigerians a year over the next decade. It includes bespoke content on strategic thinking, customer behaviour, marketing, branding, product targeting, business planning and international trade.

The course is designed to give participants all the tools required to become young entrepreneurs, to help them diversify and grow the Nigerian economy. Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy with a GDP of £2.95bn but its entrepreneurial deficit renders it vulnerable to high unemployment and fluctuations in global markets.

The IMF predicts that Nigeria could become the ninth largest economy in the world by 2050 if it mobilises its 200 million population into a nation of entrepreneurs and consumers.

The 10-year project also gives young Nigerians membership to the world-renowned specialist membership body, The Institute of Leadership & Management. They’ll have access to its flagship e-learning tool, MyLeadership, to use the interactive learning resources developed by The Institute’s experts.

ABE CEO Rob May said: “Nigeria is a country at a crossroads. The fiscal deficit, unemployment trend and uncertainty around petrol prices all combine to create an atmosphere of economic instability. This uncertainty means that the West African nation has seen a significant outflow of its most promising young talent to Europe, leaving behind a damaging human capital problem.

“This project, with partners UNESCO and The Institute of Leadership & Management will inspire a generation of Nigerian youths to become entrepreneurs and broaden the horizon of this proud nation.”

Prince Abdulsalami, President of the UNESCO Read and Earn Federation, added: “This project, and this partnership, is now part of the road map to making Nigeria a successful and sustainable economy, and will help curb the conditions that lead to poverty, illegal migration, human trafficking and modern-day slavery.”

Phil James, CEO of The Institute of Leadership & Management said: “The Institute of Leadership & Management is delighted to be working with ABE and UNESCO to support such a vital project for the education and empowerment of young people in Nigeria.

“We share ABE’s values and belief that education has the potential to change people’s lives and to advance peace and prosperity for society. Our studying membership will support everyone who achieves their ABE certificate by providing the opportunity for continuous learning and development of business management and leadership skills.”

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