By Chimezie Godfrey
The Lagos State Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a German Development Agency, GIZ, on human capacity development with special focus on the youths for increased economic productivity.
The MoU, signed by the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Samuel Egube and the Country Director, Nigeria & ECOWAS, GIZ, Ina Hommers, aims to provide a viable skill development programme that would empower the young people for employment opportunities and thereby enhance the sustainable economic growth of the state and the nation at large.
Speaking during the signing in Alausa, Ikeja, at the weekend, Mr Egube, said: “Beyond focusing on just the infrastructure development, we are focusing on training and developing human capacity as well as systems that make those things sustainable and that is what the challenge is for Lagos and what we intend to pursue with all our hearts.
“There is a lot we are doing and focusing on human development because everything we do, we must revolve around that. What is the use in having great infrastructure, but your people are still poor. If you are doing infrastructure it must be sensible enough to support the development of your people and the development of their enterprise that is how we are broadly organised. In that frame, technical education is very crucial and that is because of the demography that we have; it is largely youth, young people.
“What we have decided to do in this administration is to pursue the THEMES agenda and the heart of that entire programme is what we call our partnerships. Lagos is not excluded at approached partnerships from the perspective of waiting to see what the donors have to give but what we are trying to do in Lagos is to change that paradigm and is to say if we are your partners, let’s co-create.”
The Commissioner disclosed his elation at the new partnership, which will open up new ideas that would complement the quality and expand the capacity of government programmes to improve the livelihood of the people.
“I am happy that we are able to reach some kind of understanding to work together. As far as Lagos is concerned, we do not believe we have the knowledge in all to do it on our own. We believe that knowledge is complete depending on the quality of people sitting on the table so we see your coming to join us to sit on the table as something that expands the capacity of all of us together to make a difference,” Egube said.
Also speaking at the event, the Consul General, Federal Republic of Germany, Dr. Stefan Traumann said that the partnership would support many youths and small businesses through the current phase and help build for them something sustainable.
“Lagos State is well known for its youth engagement initiatives, empowerment and social development and so this collaboration with GIZ makes perfect sense. It comes especially in good time based on happenings in the world and here in Nigeria.
“As we all know, the majority of the Nigerian population as well as Lagos population is young and so there are undoubtedly many talented youths sitting idle at home wishing they had training opportunities to learn new skills to be engaged positively and to earn some money for themselves. This initiative will support many youths and small businesses through this tough phase and help them build something sustainable. This MoU is an important milestone for German-Nigerian partnerships especially in youth development,” Traumann said.
In her remarks, the Country Director, Nigeria & ECOWAS, GIZ, Ina Hommers, said the MoU is an excellent opportunity for strengthening the relationship, which has been built with the Lagos State Government on skills development as well as creation of employment opportunities for the youths.
“Our classic program is Sustaining Economic Development in Nigeria programme that supports economic growth and which has been active here throughout, but since 2018 our Skills Development for Youth Employment Programme has also been present in Lagos jointly with the Migration for Development Programme and this is how we started to work across the board with our Lagos partners on this nexus of what is it that is needed in order to rebuild, reform and provide prospects for people returning to Nigeria and to have livelihood opportunities that are sustainable and long lasting.
“What would make a change from our perspective is a real public-private dialogue that is: what is needed from your side and also what is needed from the private sector and what is it that they are seeking for and what is it that they can offer. What we hope is that we have the means to support such an approach and that you also have the means to bring together everyone that is needed from the Lagos State side for such a public private initiative and; then spread from Lagos to other States as well and we hope that this MoU can be a stepping stone towards this partnership,” GIZ Country Director said.
Witnessing the MoU signing were Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Diaspora Affairs, Mr. Jermaine Sanwo-Olu; Director, Departmental Partnership, Lagos Ministry of Economic Planning, Mr. Pekin Sobodu; Executive Secretary, Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board (LASTVEB), Mrs. Ronke Azeez, other Officials of GIZ Nigeria and representatives of the State’s Ministry of Justice.