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THISDAY, the sunday newspaper • JUNE 26, 2016
As Nigeria gallops through rising cost of goods and services, high cost of living and doing
business, amidst a growing threat of militant activities in the Niger Delta, which disrupt oil
production, there is a growing army of at least 60 million unemployed Nigerians. In this
piece, Funke Olaode examines solutions being proffered by UK-based African-in-Chief
of Africa Secretariat, Ben Oguntala, to mitigate the rising unemployment in the country
ofAfrica Secretariat in the United
in an address at a London event,
Celebrating Africa, noted that,
“for the past 300 years or more,
different perceptions others have and not by
those she has of herself. One of the greatest
challenges of Africa is how to properly craft
out an identity and define herself in the context
of the contemporary and modern world we
have found ourselves in today.”
Nigeria, and Africa as a whole in addressing
unemployment and trade development.
In the first instance, experts have noted that
to supply” seriously and that they expect inves-
tors to take all the risk. These governments
thus avoid any situation that will make them
take part in complex development projects.
According to the United Kingdom-based
Africa Secretariat, “every time demand goes to
supply, the value of the product is significantly
diminished and this is the model that China is
using that has worked quite well in its favour.
Every time you hear of a foreign company
purchasing a land inAfrica, it is predominantly
based on this principle.”
Another predicament and argument put
forward by the organisation is that African
governments are often too lazy when it comes
to working on complex projects. It alleged the
governments often leave the development and
to solve. Incidentally, the complex areas are
where the real money or value in a project is.
Therefore, if these complex projects are left
in the hands of international outfits to resolve,
they are always likely to get the benefit of such
projects at the expense of hostAfrican nations.
Examples of these already abound inAfrica’s
most populous nation, Nigeria –and perhaps
delight of manyAfricans but the international
investors still holds the aces by withholding
the intellect or knowledge key to the success
of the projects. In the long run, the knowledge
capital needed to truly develop.
The consequence of these scenarios is that
“we keep seeing developments that don’t
impact employment and which ends up like
a tiny drop in a mighty ocean,” the Africa
Consequent upon this, the UK-based outfit
stated that African countries like Nigeria will
not be able to centrally address unemploy-
ment. The reason, it said, is simple: if Nigerian
government centralises the resolution, it will
be overwhelmed with the response and as a
result shut down the process even before it has
fails over and over again.
Consider the story of Dr. Akin Oguntala
who used to wake his son, Ben Oguntala
(African-in-Chief of Africa Secretariat), from
slumber and would pull up one of Nigerian
like, “300, 000 passed JAMB but only 30,000
spaces available.” His message to his son was
that 270, 000 were doomed regardless of how
smart they were. This was back in the 80s.
Today, just a few years after, the number has
ForAfrica Secretariat, the strategy to redefine
and decentralise the process and the problem
Amongst Nigeria’s 60 million unemployed,
at least one million of them have access to
raw materials in rural areas. According to
an estimate, each raw material is capable of
creating 10 jobs.
Following on this, in a 12-month period,
there will 10 million jobs above the United
Kingdom’s minimum wage of £10 per hour
would have been created in Nigeria. That, the
Africa Secretariat noted, would have caused a
significant dent on the figure of unemployed
people like never before. Furthermore, it will
also inject over £100 million into Nigeria’s
economy per hour.
“I am sure you will agree with me, without
a single government funding, we would have
created an economy that addresses our issues
and challenges and most importantly, allows
ordinary Nigerians to create a £10 per hour
job for themselves,” Oguntala stated.
Speaking further, the Africa Secretariat boss
noted, “There are overwhelming statistics
about unemployment in Nigeria, according
to a newspaper report, an estimated 60 million
Nigerians are unemployed, with the World
Bank Data in 2010 stating that 46 per cent of
the nation’s population are living in poverty
which is usually caused by unemployment
in the country.”
population of 168.8 million in 2012 (according
to the World Bank Data).
“This means the true figure is not 60 million
but rather 77.6 million. Any government that
says it can address it is simply lying. It is logisti-
cally impossible,” the UK-based employment
How international suppliers exploit
When foreign governments and firms want
to exploit Africa, Oguntala explains that they
“In our model, ‘supply will be going
to demand’, meaning the raw materials
manufacturers would be the ones showcasing
their products to the demand side and the
value of the raw materials is viewed from
an international demand perspective. This
path is one key reasons Africa is failing to
create employment or initiate trade,” he said.
Raw Materials Development Competition
Africa Secretariat in collaboration with
African Natural Rulers has commissioned
a N1 million Raw Materials Development
competition as part of the Redefining Africa
The aim of the competition is to identify
20 raw materials development ideas and
projects that are capable of generating the
highest level of employment and highest
level of development for the communities
they come from.
The competition requires certain criteria for
people to qualify for it. Oguntala pointed out
that each project has to start by self-generating
capital through the sale of raw materials to
the international suppliers and have a plan
for using the capital generated from the sale
to create the end product locally in Africa.
Another step to be taken is that anyone
entering for the competition needs to identify
five raw materials in his rural community and
identify an international supplier or market
that will be interested in the five raw materials
and how the raw materials can benefit them.
“He also has to define how many of the
raw materials can be supplied to the supplier,
state how many employment opportunities
will be created from his plan and how; he
should also state how many community
development initiatives will be started by
Another vital aspect is for any interested
person to identify how he plans to start
processing the raw materials locally and to
identify how he can produce the end product
locally,” Oguntala stated.
first “visit the country, visit the piece of land
they want, carry out a survey, determine the
land is going to benefit their need and then
call the minister’s office to request a meeting.”
As they are foreigners in Nigeria or any
other African country, they always get the
meeting arranged more often than not.
Oguntala further explained what happened
at such meetings.
“They arrive at the meeting with £5 million
and request to buy the land and you can
imagine the outcome. They get the land; they
drive theAfricans off the land and eventually
pay the land owner to work on his own
land with no financial benefit other than a
meagre salary. This model is ‘demand going
to supply’, as you can see from my example;
the African government did not carry out
an independent survey of the land or get a
second opinion. There was no consultation
with the landowners mainly because the price
offered has blindfolded them. We would never
know if the land was worth £500 million.
Addressing Nigeria’s 60m
I am sure you will agree
with me, without a single
government funding, we
would have created an
economy that addresses
our issues and challenges
and most importantly,
allows ordinary Nigerians
to create a £10 per hour
job for themselves
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