As part of efforts to tackle the challenge of youth unemployment facing governments and development partners in Nigeria and the Niger Delta region in particular, the Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with RIVTAF Nigeria Limited on January 31, 2020 to partner on its Niger Delta Youth Employment Pathways (NDYEP) project that is working to equip at least 3,000 unemployed, out of school and vulnerable youth in the region with market relevant skills to secure sustainable jobs.
PIND’s Niger Delta Youth Employment Pathways, Manager Emeka Ile, in a statement said ‘Youth restiveness is often linked to unemployment, poverty and lack of economic opportunities. He said ‘’Despite decades of steady economic growth, Nigeria has not made much progress in curbing youth unemployment as it still suffers from an expanding population of unemployable youth. The 2018 third quarter Labour Force Statistics report by the National Bureau of Statistics showed that more than 55% of youth in the labour force are either unemployed or underemployed. The unemployment figure is even worse for women at 26.6% compared to men at 20.3%.
‘’With an unemployment rate that is higher than the national average, the Niger Delta harbors a significant number of unemployed youth. For example, in the third quarter of 2018, Akwa Ibom and Rivers States recorded the highest unemployment rates at 37.7% and 36.4% respectively’’
According to, PIND’s Niger Delta Youth Employment Pathways Manager Emeka Ile, while addressing youth on unemployment issue said the most critical development challenge for governments and all actors at the national and sub-national levels, as the situation is a natural trigger for conflict escalation’’. To contribute to stemming the rising tide of unemployment, PIND, with funding from the Ford Foundation, initiated the NDYEP project in 2017 to pilot models of skills training that not only equips youth with market relevant technical skills in key growth sectors but supports them to transition into employment and entrepreneurship as pathways to work in the agricultural, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Renewable energy (solar) and building construction sectors.
MR ILE added that ‘’By the end of 2018, over 1,400 youth had completed the technical, soft and entrepreneurship training program over the year one target of 1,000, with over 450 of them already linked to waged employment or starting their own enterprises’’.
‘’With the success of the pilot model, there is an immense opportunity to apply lessons learned and cascade the benefits to more youth’’ Ile stated ‘’but doing this would require more partners, and PIND’s partnership with RIVTAF Nigeria, re-enforces this need for actors to work together towards improving employment opportunities and give youths in the state, technical training that meets specific industry requirements’’.
RIVTAF Nigeria Limited, a special purpose vehicle incorporated through partnership between TAF Nigeria Homes Limited and the Government of Rivers State shares in this ideal and is committed to increasing the pool of youth with the right technical skills for work in the construction sector. Ile explained that ‘’PIND and RIVTAF clearly understands that unless the youth are gainfully employed, peace may remain an illusion’’.
In signing the MOU to collaborate on the implementation of the NDYEP project, PIND and RIVTAF will leverage their combined capabilities, and technical expertise to promote information sharing, business linkages and partnerships for youth development in the region.
Through this initiative, RIVTAF and PIND will provide opportunities and linkages for hands-on apprenticeship and work in various building construction skills areas for selected youth trained under the NDYEP program. ‘’It is our expectation that this partnership will further demonstrate and galvanize government and private sector investments in youth development and employment’’