Alakija: Empower youths to grow the economy

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Billionaire Folorunsho Alakija, Africa's richest woman, poses for a photograph following a Bloomberg interview in Lagos, Nigeria, on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. XXXSecond sentence hereXXX. Photographer: George Osodi/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Folorunsho Alakija

One of the richest black women in the world, Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija has said that Nigerian youths must be taught life skills and empowered so they can contribute more to the economy and society.

According to reports by the PUNCH, Mrs. Alakija, spoke during a youth empowerment program, which was organized by a non-governmental organization, the Rose of Sharon Glorious Foundation, in partnership with Stresert Services and the Lagos State Empowerment Trust Fund, on Saturday.

Mrs. Alakija said “If we don’t ensure that the next generation is empowered with skills, what is going to happen to the economy and the society? Not everybody is going to work in corporate organizations.

There are different skills and different people in the world.  It is essential to empower all human beings, not just youths. We also empower widows. We decided not to give them fish but to teach them how to fish. We fund them to learn skills and even go back to school.

“We have quite a number of widows that we are sponsoring in the university. We also take care of their medical expenses. We used to have some doctors working with us and we’re still looking for new partnerships. We also recently started working with the Lagos State Empowerment Trust Fund and they would be providing funds, from N200,000 to N5m, to some of the alumni of our skills acquisition classes though this is just our first major training session.”

Alakija further called for more corporate partnership in areas of education and health.

She said, “We are looking for other organizations that would be able to work with us in areas where we do not have the capacity to empower our beneficiaries. As an example, we don’t have the capacity to impart technological skills, so it would be helpful if an IT organization can partner with us; also in medicare and other such areas. We can only encourage others to try to reach out and touch the under-privileged.”

Speaking further, she also commended the Federal Government’s anti-corruption war.

“I believe that this current government is doing the right thing as far as anti-corruption is concerned. When the erring ones are found, they have to be punished to serve as examples to others. If there is no serious deterrent, corruption will continue. All the money generated in this country is only going into the pockets of few people and it shouldn’t be so,” she said.

The event featured different sessions by human resources professionals who gave the attendees tips on self-empowerment and how to secure good jobs.

Other speakers at the event included Sola Gbobaniyi, Grace Iruene, Olisemeka Nwachukwu, Toluwalase Ayeni and Shade Paul-Rotua.

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