Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday said Nigeria was blessed with an energetic and resourceful youth population that could partner global technology giants to excel in any field.
He spoke in Abuja when he received a group of Chinese technology entrepreneurs at the Presidential Villa.
The delegation was led by the co-founder of AliBaba Group, Mr Jack Ma, on a visit as part of the Nigerian Government’s move to promote technological innovation among youths in the country.
Ma, who is the richest man in China, is said to have a net worth of $38bn.
Osinbajo stated, “Nigeria represents an incredible opportunity and potential, and we had spoken a few minutes ago about how Nigeria will, in another two decades or so, become the third largest in terms of population in the entire world.
“The largest segment of that population are young people, under 25, who will be over 60 per cent of that population.
“This is exciting time for us and we are really happy that you are here and I know the young people and lots of businesses and entrepreneurs are looking forward to your interaction with them later today.
“I think you will find very energetic, very creative group of young men and women and older men and women who are increasingly interested in entrepreneurship, especially digital entrepreneurship.
“So, the potential is tremendous, it is an incredible potential that we have. So, we are at a point, and your coming is very strategic, in our trajectory and in the progress of our country.
“I think, it is a very important moment and what we are seeing – a lot of entrepreneurship, a lot of young people who are very actively engaged in the digital economy at various levels.”
The VP seized the opportunity to speak on the efforts by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to uplift the youth of the country.
He cited the case of the N-Power Programme, saying, “We started a job programme for young people called N-Power where we engaged half a million young people.”
“We wanted to build the E-frastructure to make this happen, so we gathered a group of young entrepreneurs, so they put together the system which enabled us to engage the half million people.
“We pay them online, we teach them online, we put materials in open portals for them so that they can actually access these portals. They also have equipment (like the one I have) which helps them to train as extension workers for farms. They also work as teachers, so, we train them also using these open portals and all others and it proved to be tremendously successful.”
Ma spoke well of Nigerian youths, admitting that he admired their resourcefulness.
He also said he had always dreamed of visiting Nigeria.
Ma spoke more, “We flew 15 hours into Nigeria and we are excited. This trip is to try to understand Africa more. We came to Africa four years ago and our plan is to visit four, five countries in every trip. My personal target is to try and visit every country in Africa in 10 years and support Africa.
“Nigeria is a great country with a large population, very strong economy, excellent young people with excellent innovations. And this is a country I have looked forward to visiting a lot and I think our team today realised our dreams meeting you, the ministers.”
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