Nigeria : The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) says it will invest 35 million euros in youth empowerment and skill development in five African countries within a period of three years. Estherine Fotabong, Director NEPAD Continental, disclosed this in a paper presentation at a two-day Stakeholders Meeting on Skills Initiative for Africa on Tuesday in Abuja.
The title of the paper is “NEPAD’s Role and Short Overview of Priority Continental Programmes.“ According to Fotabong, the five pilot countries are Nigeria, Tunisia, Algeria, Cameroon and South Africa. She listed some of the areas of focus as construction of facilities, rehabilitation and extension of facilities, purchase of workshop equipment and entrepreneurship/mentorship programmes.
Other areas include Information Communication Technology (ICT) based approach to skill development and regional/continental skill competition.
The director said that skill development institutions, vocational institutions, technology-based institutions, apprenticeship training centres, Non-Governmental Organisations, among others were eligible to apply.
“The fund will benefit young people from rural areas especially the less-privileged. They will not just be trained but equipped with managerial ability to coordinate their skills and businesses. Applicants will be guided and supported with information and material; projects will be selected by a NEPAD-led investment committee. Implementation agreement will be concluded between the applicant and NEPAD,’’ she said.
Fatabong said there would be three funding windows.
She listed the funding windows as the intercontinental which will attract between one million euros to 1.5 million euros; large investment projects which will attract three million euros and innovation which attracts 500,000 to one million euros.
According to her, the deadline for application to the intercontinental window is May 27, while the deadline for application to the large investment window is the second half of the year.
Fatabong said that further details could be obtained at www.skillsinitiative-for-africa.com.
Earlier in her speech, Gloria Akobundu, the National Coordinator, NEPAD Nigeria said that the agency had started the process of boosting skill acquisition and addressing unemployment in the country.
Akobundu said that the initiative was officially inaugurated by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, on Monday in company of NEPAD Continental team from South Africa.
“We are here to start the proper deliberations and to discuss on the reasons why they (NEPAD Continental team) are here and how the laudable programme can be achieved.
“This is a project commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Germany, to be implemented by the Deutsche Gesellshaft fur International Zusammenabeit and the KfW Bankengruppe.
“This initiative will cover the period 2017-2020 and it is aimed at supporting institutions and vocational training centres to strengthen the occupational prospects of young people. The project is meant for the grassroots people, we want to empower them. All we need to do is to prepare our youths and women for tomorrow,’’ she said.
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