The European Union delegation to Nigeria alongside ECOWAS have inaugurated a 25 member Youth Sounding Board who are saddled with the responsibility of shaping and implementing programs and strategies of the European Union in Nigeria for increased inclusiveness.
The inauguration took place on September 13, 2021 in Abuja. The EU stated that this was done in part of its commitment to incorporating young Nigerians in its decision making process. The expectation is that the board will contribute towards making the actions of the EU more participatory, relevant and effective for the teeming population of youths in the West African nation.
Mr. Alexandre Gomes, the Charge d’Affaires at the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, noted during the event that the members of the board will have an unpaid mandate of two years.
He stated, “The Youth Sounding Board will allow young people to have an influence on the policy and programs of the EU in Nigeria, thereby contributing to making EU action more participatory, relevant and effective for the large young population of Nigeria.”
“The EU therefore believes that the future of Nigeria will largely depend on the ability to provide young Nigerians with opportunities for employment, education, health and access to decision making processes.” Mr. Gomes noted.
Sixty Percent of Nigeria’s 200 million population is below the age of 25 years. Mr. Gomes explained that as a result of this, the youth in Nigeria are a huge driver for change and innovation. He noted that the 25 members of the YSB were selected out of hundreds of applications of young and motivated Nigerians across the country.
The selection was said to be based on the candidate’s knowledge of one or more of the areas of key interest to the European Union. These areas include climate change, gender equality, youth inclusion and culture. The successful candidates were said to have exhibited excellence and proven track records in their communities, offline and online. They had set up and taken part in creating and innovative initiatives to empower youth at the grassroots level.
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