In Nigeria, 71% of the population is under 30 years old. It is estimated that, by 2050, one fifth of the children under 18 in Africa will live in Nigeria; Nigeria alone will account for nearly one-tenth of all births in the world. Population estimates are forecasting that by 2050, Nigeria will replace the United States as the third most populous country in the world.
Nigeria has regressed in its progress towards the Millennium Development Goals 2015. Its primary-university educational system has been declared a crisis with one of the worst education systems and an Education Development Index rating of 103/113 in the world. Nigeria is rated 140/140 by the World Economic Forum in primary education. At 11.5 million, Nigeria has the most school-age youth out of school—this is one-fifth of all out-of-school students in the world.
Nigeria’s economy has been struggling due to lower revenue from the oil industry and lack of economic diversity. As the economy weakened, unemployment escalated. Nigerian analysts estimates that 48% are unemployed. At the same time, over one million students graduate from universities annually to join the army of unemployed people—only 12.5% find gainful employment after university graduation and, instead, become underemployed. Nigeria has 10th highest number of students in the world leaving to study abroad, with STEM (57%) and Engineering (24%) being the top two study-abroad fields.
Recent World Bank reports state that the top barrier to employment for Nigerian employers is employability competencies and skills (e.g., communication, critical and analytical thinking, problem solving, etc.) and technical skills. Nigeria is experiencing a serious employability skills gap. Although Nigeria has new curriculum that includes employability, entrepreneurship, and vocational education, schools do not yet teach employability and technical skills.
Youth do have opportunities in entrepreneurial endeavors and YTF works with participants to develop innovative technology-focused solutions to local problems that lead to sustainable income generation. In Nigeria, entrepreneurial businesses make up 96% of all businesses in the country, and are seen as the “key to the economic emancipation of Nigeria”. In particular, technology is an emerging market and has great implications in Nigeria’s economic development plan. Nigeria now has 100% wireless coverage and a 92% cell phone ownership rate (same as the United States), allowing all Nigerians to participate in the global economy. Nigeria is in the top ten countries in the world with residents having access to the Internet.
Owerri Digital Village
In September 2001, YTF selected Nigeria as the first country to establish its premier Community Technology and Learning Center and home base—Owerri Digital Village. This decision came about after an extended due diligence period that consisted of first holding community hearings and then researching quantitative and qualitative data on the environment, infrastructural state, educational system, and other organizations. Seed funding for the establishment of the Owerri Digital Village was provided by Microsoft Corporation.
Today, Owerri Digital Village has many programs ranging from youth technology programs to women entrepreneur training. YTF’s programs for women entrepreneurs strengthen their businesses, provide mentors, and teach women entrepreneurs to use technology to increase business strategies, sales, and support employee growth. In particular, mobile technology programs have been instrumental in increasing financial inclusion of women. YTF’s newest program, 3D Africa, was launched in 2014 inspiring innovation, entrepreneurship, and leading-edge technological skills for youth and women entrepreneurs. YTF programs promote and increase education, entrepreneurship, and empowerment.
Although Owerri Digital Village is YTF’s home base in Nigeria, YTF programs are located throughout Nigeria.
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Support YTF’s Work in Nigeria
There are 2 ways to make a financial investment in YTF’s work in Nigeria. You can mail a check to the YTF mailing address in the U.S. at:
Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF)
119 Evergreen Road
P.O. Box 436411
Louisville, KY 40253Alternatively, you may donate here to make a secure donation to YTF’s work in Nigeria.
YTF continuously seeks volunteers to mentor and support youth in their learning and economic growth. To volunteer, email us!