OBAJI AKPET, Calabar
Cuso, a Canadian based international development non-governmental organisation has advocated for a green economy process as leeway to sustainable development in Nigeria and Africa at large.
This even as even as Cross River State Government has commenced a 30year plan aimed at eradicating poverty in the state.
Consequently, CUSO has assisted youths of the state in the area of entrepreneurship training such as aqua culture, co-tourism, and tourism development in a manner that if effectively followed will help in turning around the economic fortunes of the state to bring forth a strong and virile economy of the state.
The strategy which spans for about a period of 30years is expected to assist in eradicating poverty and bring about good quality of life to youths in Cross River.
Speaking with journalists during a capacity building workshop titled “ Youth Leadership, Access and Development (Youlead) project organized for market women, artisants, unemployed youths, small scale farmers and petty traders at the Council Secretariat, Odukpani Local Government Area in Cross River State, the Chief Executive Officer CEO, IPAC Institute of Policy Administration of Canada Dr. Robert Taylor, said the Canadian Government is interested to work with Nigeria to help the state boost its economy, even as he added that with better economic policy framework and enforcement the state was capable of sustaining growth beyond oil, gas and mineral boom.
The Programme Manager for Natural Resources Management and Policy of CUSO International Mr. Godwin Ugah, averred that with proper follow up of the economic strategy the NGO and states, especially Cross River are working together to develop over exploitation of its natural resources, stressing that it could be avoided while growth is made to be resilient to climate change.
Ugah further maintained that apart from CUSO aid unemployed youths acquire skills in entrepreneurship, CUSO was also interested in to help youths acquire more skills in the area of Agriculture/aqua culture, tourism and eco-tourism stressing that if these skills are acquired citizens of the state stand the chance of improving the quality of life and sustain the living standard, achieve compliance with decision made by the state economic strategies.
Also, speaking, the Special Adviser to Gov. Ben Ayade on Public Affairs, Chief Tony Udiayande, stated that the Ayade`s led administration decided to embark in the training of youths in the area of entrepreneurship so that they could become self reliant in the future rather than jumping from one place to another to seek for help which might never be given to them at the end of the day.
Udiayande stated that the strategy if holistically implemented will enable the state liverage on its strength to plan ahead of 30 years adding that if the knowledge gained at the training programme is fully applied by participants who are drawn from the various spheres of life is adequately applied, Cross River State may stand the chance of developing itself in the next 30years to come without looking “outside the box” to solicit for assistance.
On the purpose of the youths programme, the SA said that the training will help in the identification and enhancement of the business potentials available across the 18 Local Government Areas of the state.
Udiayande however added that the five years You Lead project which is funded by the Global Affairs Canada and implemented by CUSO International Nigeria has its key message which includes youths employment with its main focus to reduced joblessness by building capacities among women and men on entrepreneurship and small and medium scale businesses to fight abject poverty troubling the people of the state.
He maintained that the present administration was not please when it came on board only to realized that her people were living in abject poverty despite the numerous potential embedded in the people adding that it was based on such premise that it went ahead to corroborate with some of the development partners to come and assist the state in generating an enabling policy and regulatory framework that will put the state on development track in the next 30years to come.
Udiayande stated that Cross River State was among the 31 states in Nigeria that is worse hit with very high rate of unemployment, adding that if such an ugly situation is not nib in the bud Cross River State would head for doom when its economy is put on “the wheel” stressing that about five thousand, five hundred of the 3.4million total population density of the state is at present suffering from unemployment.
Udiayande stated that it was based on this premise that the present administration thought it wise to do things with strategic planning and asked the State Planning Commission to work with other development partners to strategically plan the economy of the state ahead of 30years.