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Japa: Humanitarian minister seeks stakeholders’ help to address youth migration

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Betta Edu, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, has sought the assistance of stakeholders towards addressing the issue of youth migration in the country.

Ms Edu made the call when she co-chaired the meeting of 48 African Countries Ministerial Representatives with the European Union (EU) to discuss issues surrounding Youths Migration in Hague, the Netherlands.

The event was tagged “Thematic meeting of the Rabat Process on Migration, Youth and Development” and was co-hosted by the Nigerian government and the Netherlands.

In a statement issued to by Ms Edu’s media aide, Rasheed Zubair, on Saturday in Abuja, she said irregular migration continued to be a disturbing issue among leaders in the continent.

She said, the situation necessitated President Bola Tinubu’s Administration to focus attention on setting up new initiatives to engage Nigerian youths of productive age with job opportunities.

”The Renewed Hope Agenda of President Tinubu is committed to give young Nigerians with innovative ideas the opportunity to get involved.”

The minister explained the connection between migration, youth, and development, adding that, sixteen percent of world’s population are growing mobile demography that could play significant role in fostering development.

“In Nigeria, like in other parts of Africa, the youth have developed a robust startup ecosystem which attracted over two billion dollars in investment between 2015 and 2022.

“In 2022 alone, 107 startups in Nigeria, founded by persons between the ages of 25 and 35, attracted over eight hundred million dollars in investment.

“According to Disrupt Africa’s 2022 startups report, Egypt raised 791 million dollars while South African startups raised 993 million between 2015 and 2022,” she said.

While expressing her delight over the impressive records of youth participation in innovative and technology startups, the minister urged them to sustain the tempo.

“Especially, the giant strides the young population made in the areas of creative industry, education, leadership, medicine, science and sports is highly commendable,” she said.

Ms Edu noted that a good number of migrants faced challenges in the countries of their migration.

“In Nigeria, the Japa Syndrome, which refers to young highly skilled workers and university graduates, migrating in their numbers in search of greener pastures in Europe has become a hot-button topic.

“Especially when you consider that in 2022, diaspora remittances to Nigeria, stood at $21.9 billion but these young migrants are faced with diverse challenges in their quest for new opportunities.

“Such as the dangers of human trafficking, smuggling of migrants, sexual abuse, poor living conditions, organ trafficking, mordern-day slavery and other forms of exploitation,” she said.

She expressed optimism that the meeting would provide avenues for deliberations and solutions to the challenges faced by young migrants as well as celebrate their achievements.

Ms Edu used the opportunity to canvass support for low income countries in Africa in job creation and enabling environment, to reduce pressure on the youth seeking to migrate.

On his part, Paul Huijts, the Netherlands Secretary General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed delight that the meeting focused on shared commitment on promoting active participation.

Mr Huijts also said this would create opportunities for young people to ensure that efforts are made to address the root causes of irregular migration.

He commended the Nigerian government for providing opportunities for youth to participate in governance, especially with the appointment of Ms Edu.

“As part of our commitment to actively support young people, we need to engage in dialogue and change the best practices so that our efforts continue to address their needs.

“Let us listen to challenges that young people in our country’s face, like poor education, unemployment, low number of youth and women’s leadership and involvement in national international decision making.

“For Nigeria, President Tinubu is indeed changing the picture of leadership and increasing daily the youth and women inclusion in governance,” he said.

Also speaking, Erica Gerretsen, Director-General of European Union Commission for International Partnership, said the programme was to engage participants to increase their voice in leadership policies and decision-making.

“Giving voice also means building narratives in order to get positive story about migration of young people.

“As well as the potentials they have to contribute to the development of their country rather than seeking illegal migration.

“We are leading by example by strengthening the institutional engagement in the European institutions. Our EU boards for international partnerships is a group of 25 young people from around the world.

“It was established in 2021 to advise on youth participation and empowerment as well as helping to use our policies to change the narratives in countries,” she said.

NAN

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