By Fortune Abang
The Policy Innovation Centre (PIC) of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), has called for constant stakeholder dialogue on gender inclusion to advance youth development in the country.
The Chairman of PIC, Mr Udene Ufot, made this known at the two-day Gender and Inclusion Summit in Abuja.
The event with the theme: “Building Bridges: Advancing Gender and Inclusion Through the Intersection of Trade and Health”, begins from Nov. 28 to 29.
Ufot said the summit was conceptualised as a platform for dialogue where critical stakeholders from diverse sectors would reflect on new evidence and contextually relevant solutions to disparities in inclusivity, in Nigeria.
“This year, we are dedicating considerable time to discuss issues relating to Nigerian youth for many reasons.
“Nigeria has one of the largest populations of youth in the world, about seventy per cent of the population is under 35 years old.
“The median age of youth in Nigeria is 18.1 years and 42 per cent are under the age of 15. The size and youthfulness of the Nigerian population offer great potential for innovation, technological advancement and economic development.
“For this potential to be harnessed, strategic investments in health, education, infrastructural development and job creation are critical while leveraging technology to deliver sustainable development at scale.
“We have a collective responsibility to develop inclusive approaches to address barriers to quality education, job and internship opportunities and access to health services for Nigeria’s burgeoning youth population.”
Speaking at the event, Annett Gunter, German Ambassador to Nigeria, advised on the need for proper commitments to ensure sustainable growth.
“Our commitment extends beyond discussions, it is a call to action for comprehensive gender-sensitive healthcare that recognised and addresses the unique needs of every individual.
“Similarly, the creative and media industries are powerful channels of narrative and both have immense potential to seal conversations towards inclusivity,” she said.
On her part, Dr Charity Chenge, Senior Programme Officer, Global Development, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, underscored the need to prioritise moves for women to guarantee women healthy and reproductive lives.
“We need to really focus on expanding opportunities for women to live healthy and reproductive lives.
“The Foundation works in partnerships and to improve health and productivity.
“We want to increase women’s economic opportunities by removing barriers, enabling decent work and supporting women’s enterprises to help them thrive in the economy,” she said.
Meanwhile, Mrs Ibukun Awosika, Convener, of the International Woman Leadership Conference, expressed appreciation to the Centre for the event, saying it promoted dialogue on gender inclusion and youth development as critical national conversation.
“This is not just a matter of women, it is a national economic issue. 50 per cent of our population is incapacitated.
“For not being educated properly and in the absence of adequate empowerment as well as lacking opportunities we put ourselves at a disadvantage,” Ibukun said.
The high points of the event were the exhibition tour, research presentation, plenary and presentation of prizes. (NAN) (www.nannews.com.ng)