‘Japa’: Nigeria won’t prosper, develop if youths keep leaving, says Okonjo-Iweala

 


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), says young people will not be keen to relocate abroad if they can thrive in the country.

 

The former finance minister spoke on Monday at the 2023 induction for re-elected and elected governors.

 

The event, organised by the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), had the theme ‘Governing for Impact: Building Sub-national Governance’.

 

Okonjo-Iweala appealed to the governors to focus on nation-building and invest in the infrastructure and education system of their respective states.

 

She said Nigeria will struggle to “develop and prosper” if the youths keep leaving the country.

 

Okonjo-Iweala said with remote work and AI tools, it is increasingly easy for businesses across the states to provide intermediate services like accounting or insurance claims processing to offices around the world.

 

“With our large numbers of educated people fluent in English – together with a deep network of connections to the diaspora – we are well positioned to seize these opportunities,” she said.

 

 “But such businesses, like our tech startups, will struggle to thrive if we keep losing so many of our most skilled young people to emigration. Let me share some numbers.

 

“Over 15,000 Nigerians emigrated to Canada in 2021, joining 19,000 who had moved there in the previous two years. Estimates for 2022 are 20,000. That is over 50,000 skilled Nigerians in the space of four years.

 

“In the first half of 2022 alone, the UK granted skilled worker visas to nearly 16,000 Nigerians. Thousands of Nigerian-trained medical doctors work in the USA. The most popular phrase in Nigeria now is “I am going to japa”. I am not telling people not to go, but what I am saying is how many of these japas can we afford? If you japa we want you to “kapa”.

 

“Excellencies you must make your states and all Nigeria a hospitable, encouraging place where young people want to stay and thrive, not leave. Much as we appreciate remittances sent home by these migrants, Nigeria will not develop and prosper if its youthful, tech-savvy population leaves. Without them, our demographic dividend disappears.”

 

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  1. …. but your children are abroad o.

    ReplyDelete
  2. 😂😂😂 where are ur family...?
    Our motivator.

    ReplyDelete

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