Repositioning Nigerian Youth as National Assets Roundtable Strategic Session

Nigeria’s robust youth environment and increasing youth population makes her one of the most youthful populations in the world. The National Youth Policy defines youth as all young persons of ages 18 – 35. With over 60% of the population, Nigeria’s burgeoning youth population provides a huge social, economic and political capital required to drive socio-political and economic development.

Nigeria’s greatest asset lies in its youthful demography, yet, there have been little or no gains towards furthering the youth agenda and harnessing the energy, resilience and commitment of Nigeria’s youth. Youth are the engine room of every nation. The similitude of the importance of youth to nation building could be likened to a car engine, without which, vehicles can’t move, so also without youth, a nation cannot thrive. The role of the youth in nation building is too relevant to be jettisoned – they serve as the back-bone of a society. They can make or mar a nation based on what is programmed in them. They are a feedback system because if they are well equipped and garnished with the best available resources, they give a positive outcome, but, if otherwise, negative outcome should be expected. Youth constitute not only a formidable demographic force, but also make up the next generation of parents, workers and leaders. Their wellbeing, therefore, has implications not only for their own lives, but also for the societies they will build and maintain.


Youth participation in Nigeria remains a subject that defies easy description. What does youth participation mean in different cultures? What inhibits or encourages youth participation? What attitudes do young people and adults hold when it comes to ensuring young people a greater voice in decision making? How does lack of access to technology hinder youth’s ability to participate on a national scale? What lessons have we learned from existing youth participation programs in Nigeria? How can we integrate value reorientation in our youth-focused programs? How can we effectively ensure participation of youth in the conception, design, planning and implementation of youth-focused programs? These are very important questions for Nigerian NGOs focused on youth development. There is a need for a collective and better understanding of what youth participation involves, how it can be implemented for all youth ages. Participation can be strengthened by including youth in the design, implementation, monitoring, reporting and evaluation of instruments, strategies and programs.

AfriGrowth Foundation, which is in the front line of instituting a course of reflection and focus for renewed action centered on adding values to the lives of Nigerian youth is laying incentives to organize a roundtable strategic session, premised on the discourse of effective youth participation in nation building. This event will involve selected NGOs that have youth-focused programs.


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