Generation Unlimited Launches in Nigeria, 20 Million Young People to Benefit

Slated to scale in 12 states across the country, the public-private-youth program will reach 20 million with skills training, employment, entrepreneurship, and social impact opportunities by 2030

Nchekwube Nwosu-Igbo
A group of young people shown in a panel discussion with decision-makers on stage
UNICEF Nigeria
19 August 2021

Abuja, Nigeria, July 26—In an extraordinary event in Abuja, Nigeria, the public and private sectors, UN, civil society, and young people officially cut the ribbon of Generation Unlimited Nigeria, a new public-private-youth partnership platform that will equip 20 million young Nigerians with skills and opportunities for economic empowerment and social impact.

In his goodwill address, Generation Unlimited Chief Executive Officer, Dr Kevin Frey, said that young people have the power and the potential to transform the world we are living in, but that it is up to us to ensure they have the right opportunities to do so.

“The youth agenda is the defining issue of our time,” Frey said. “Across much of the world, the youth demographic boom that is happening has the potential to transform economic and social outcomes and reduce inequality, but that will only happen if young people have the right skills and access to opportunities.”

“The devastating challenges posed by COVID may have set young people back, but it has also shown us their creativity, grit, and resilience. Young people are our greatest hope (...) The success of Nigeria is the success of Africa. The success of Africa is the success of the world. And that success will be driven by young people."

Kevin Frey
GenU CEO Kevin Frey shown on stage during his speech at the launching event of Generation Unlimited Nigeria.
UNICEF Nigeria
Generation unlimited CEO Kevin Frey: "The success of Africa is the success of the world. And that success will be steered by young people."

In a video address, the Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo noted that: “Nigeria has one of the world’s largest young populations, and it bears repeating that our country’s youth are its present and its future. The cost of failing to invest in them is quite simply unimaginable.”

“We are excited to be part of the ambitious goal of reaching young Nigerians with [Generation Unlimited]. The work is massive, and we know that we cannot achieve this objective without strong partnerships.”

Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President of Nigeria

Generation Unlimited Nigeria is slated to scale in 12 states across the 6 geo-political zones of the country and reach 20 million young people with skills training, employment, entrepreneurship and social impact opportunities by 2030.

The public-private-youth initiative will bring together the government, businesses, financial institutions, the UN, civil society and young people to work together to solve major challenges and invest in young people as they prepare to transition to adulthood.

With a 37% unemployment rate in Nigeria, Generation Unlimited Nigeria aims to increase the number of quality work opportunities available to young people and foster entrepreneurship as a mindset and a livelihood. At the event, youths and major stakeholders engaged in conversations and proffered solutions to problems that affect young persons in Nigeria.

Generation Unlimited Nigeria represents a chance for the country to harness the energy and talents of a booming youth population and a chance for every young Nigerian to live out their unlimited potential.

UNICEF Nigeria

The launching event was attended by dignitaries including Governor. Umar Ganduje of Kano state, Mr. Philip Shaibu – Edo state deputy governor, Mr. Segun Dawodu – representative of the Lagos state governor, UN resident coordinator in Nigeria – Mr. Edward Kallon, Mr. Peter Hawkins – UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Ms. Vanessa Phala, ILO Country Representative in Nigeria, Mrs Comfort Lamptey, Country Representative UNWomen.

Present at the event were also representatives of the African Development Bank, World Bank, the European Union Delegation, GIZ as well as CEOs and representatives of private sector partners such as Jobberman, PwC, Microsoft, the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Unilever, and Airtel.

A major highlight of the event was the panel discussion moderated by young Nigerians Anjola Olarenwaju and Victory Ashaka, who spoke on issues that concern them and their peers and posed questions to the UNICEF Country Representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins and Senior Special Assistant to the Nigerian President on Education Interventions, Fela Bank-Olemo.

A group of young people on stage posing for a picture with Nigerian singer Banky W
UNICEF Nigeria
A young Nigerian girl on stage speaking into a microphone during a panel discussion
UNICEF Nigeria

Another highlight was a panel discussion moderated by popular Nigerian musician and social activist, Olubankole Wellington (Banky W) and Zephia Ovia, a young change agent for youth empowerment. Panelists included Entrepreneur Nafisat Olajumoke Dada, a young entrepreneur and CEO of Taeillo Homes, Team Lead of the Geneneration Unlimited Youth Challenge global winning venture, Street2School - Abdulkadir Ahmed and Deputy Speaker of the Children’s parliament – Hon. Precious Okoli. The discussion centered on the aspirations and challenges of young Nigerians, which saw the panel touch upon issues of governance, entrepreneurship, skill acquisition and education.

The Speaker of the Children’s Parliament, Hon. Maisara Abdul-Khadir Abbas, gave the vote of thanks that wrapped up the event by staging: “We’re full of great ideas. We’re Nigerians. We can do it. Together we can achieve everything!”