By Eric Olusesan
The Federal Government monday reiterated its commitment towards strengthening the bilateral relationship with the Republic of South Africa in the area of youth development.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare stated this on Monday in his office in Abuja when the South African Minister of Women, Youth and Disabilities, Ms. Maite Nkoana-Mashabane paid him a courtesy visit.
He said that arrangements have been concluded for the formal signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two countries with a view to tapping the resourcefulness and greatness of the youth of both countries.
Stating further that “we have the most resourceful youth population in both countries that have become a great asset. Government on both sides must have the political will to engage, invest in their skills, create access to credit and finances that will unleash their potentials”.
Already he said, in the realization of the potentialities of the Nigerian youth as asset to sustainable economic growth and development of the country, the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration has through the efforts of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development of Nigeria last year, approved N75b (Seventy-Five Billion Naira), Nigeria Youth Investment Fund (NYIF) for young entrepreneurs to have access to loans at minimal interest rates in order to establish and improve their businesses.
“This is to say that the Republic of South Africa have come to that stage of investing in the youth now,” Dare said.
He explained that the signing of the MoU by both countries will not only set a template for other African countries to follow and adopt, but that the partnership will further strengthen both countries in the sectors of mineral resources, environment, forests and Woodlands as well as waste management value chain, adding that the cooperation will help them to combat the restiveness of their youth to enhance cross fertilization of ideas, opportunities as well as reduce friction among them.
The Minister who highlighted the areas of cooperation to include Youth Exchange Programmes on; notable national, international and historic events; National Youth Service initiatives; sharing of best practices on national youth legislation, policies, frameworks and guidelines, among others, noted that the agreement will provide succour for youth with disabilities in both countries.
Others he said, will also feature in the exchange of information on technologies, research, development programmes and experts as well as exchange of Information Communication Technology (ICT) and Special Education.
The visit of the Republic of South African Minister for Women, Youth and Disabilities, Dare said, is a precursor for the smooth signing of the Memorandum of Understanding in Abuja by President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and his South African counterpart, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa.