There is no denying the fact that Nigeria has had more than its fair share of national calamity. Decades of independence from British colonial rule in 1960 saw this strategically located sub-Saharan nation plunge into political uncertainty and economic resolution. Non-inclusive strategy and historical overdependence on oil exports went to the vast majority of Nigeria in poverty and the catastrophic human development conditions. The return of democracy in 1999 finally brought with it the promise of positive change, the Abuja announced ambitious plans to reverse the downward spiral in global rankings and effect a radical transformation in the lives of its people. In Nigeria proverbial light at the end of the tunnel came in the form of rapid sustainable development, the former president O Obsanjo tilted to take his country to the top 20 world economies by 2020. The thrust of this vision has been carried on by the current President UM Yar’Adua that Nigeria continues on the road to economic repair and sustainable growth.
Of the many important challenges facing Nigeria today, youth unrest and violent crime are probably distressing. Even though credible data are missing, local media suggest that half of the Nigerian population of 148 million are teenagers, 95% of them are unemployed1. Decades of economic stagnation and poverty have conspired to drive a large chunk of this form of crime and violence from the beginning. There is little doubt that the long-term country are irrevocably tied to its ability to restore this youth force from unrest and activate economic potential.
before he is on the way to tackle youth unrest, it is important to consider the development obstacles facing Nigerians in general, and its youth in particular.
* infrastructure deficit in the country runs into billions of dollars, a condition that severely undermines sustainable development. In July this year, the government announced it has $ 150 billion2 over ten years for investment in various sectors of infrastructure; especially power, roads and railways. Business are also not equitable spread across rural and urban areas, a situation that hexes development of new projects and expansion of existing ones. A virtually no rail network and very poor road conditions have combined to further reduce operating environment of the country and the investment climate.
* Electricity is another area of concern in this regard. Power supply is far below demand, to say the least, and supply is mostly erratic even in relatively developed urban areas. Most companies are forced to run on expensive generators, but often outages leave many other facing break-ins and other criminal activities.
* communication infrastructure also calls for massive restoration and growth, especially in the telecommunications and Internet services. These two sectors were focus areas under former President Obasanjo, the government expressed great revival program to promote the sharing and flow of Internet and phone services. Current and emerging entrepreneurs like Nigeria continue to face tremendous obstacles in linking to markets and potential investors. Although there have been tangible development in the communication sector in the last decade, it still presents enormous challenges.
* Entrepreneurship development has also been hamstrung with lots of financial factors, poor access to credit for small businesses to be the most prominent. Lack of credit and taxation sympathetic sustainable reality is a core area of concern, along with the predominance of loans with debt equity.
* low standards of education, limited access to vocational training, limited use of technology and high cost of doing business in Nigeria are other factors that require resolution for the country to achieve rapid sustainable growth.
The Way Ahead
Clearly, there are diverse issues that negatively affect business development in Nigeria. Significant youth population, have decades of under investment in the social sector and the failure of employment generation programs together and create an atmosphere of unrest. The volatile mix of rampant poverty, inflation and unemployment have led to a situation where criminality is very often the only way to survive.
reversed this development calls for a fundamental change in the official outlook and vigorous changes in four key areas:
* Training and education: From the perspective of sustainable development and youth mobilization, the importance of wholesome and practical education simply can not overstated. The Nigerian government seems to understand the extent of its importance, and successive governments have undertaken sweeping policy decisions in this direction. Before leaving office in 2007, President Obsanjo made entrepreneurial education mandatory for high school students in all areas of Nigeria. The current exemption under President Yar’Adua continues to place great emphasis on vocational training and skills development programs for youth by equipping them to meet business challenges. However, such measures need to be standardized across the education system and quality-upgraded to meet current realities
* Official Programmes :. As of 1999, the federal government has initiated several measures markers to promote business development, including the setting up of the National Directorate of work, medium business Development and the Central Bank of Industry. However, more effective steps called for in order to increase youth participation in development schemes and forming social consensus on important macroeconomic issues. Encourage youth leadership in both the public and private sectors is important to get more economic value of the potential
* Financial Restructuring :. Access to capital to be one of the biggest setbacks to promote youth entrepreneurialism, Nigeria needs to focus on formulating and implementing radical policy changes in the financial sector. Banks and financial institutions need Outlook restructure and sensitizing the small business requirements as part of efforts to increase financial access to growing business
* Rural Barriers :. Particular attention will be given to develop business opportunities in rural areas, which significantly lag behind urban both qualitatively and quantitatively. Sufficient care must be given to the implementation of policies that favor localized and socially relevant companies across diverse Nigerian landscape.
The problem of youth unrest in Africa’s second-largest economy can not be viewed in isolation from the larger socio-economic challenges her. Nigeria must recognize the historic omission its meeting aspiration of her youth, and come up with creative solutions that adequately harness their energy for sustainable and inclusive prosperity.