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The leadership of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has announced her readiness to an information technology “innovation hubs” in member states to address unemployment in the region.
Though the scheme was originally launched last year, Business Hilights findings show that there had been nothing to show the seriousness of the bloc to begin implementation after all.
ECOWAS also said it will work with the private sector to achieve the deal but many of the mega private sector investors who were approached by our reporters say they had not been approached by the ECOWAS body.
ECOWAS Commissioner for Telecommunications and Information Technologies, Dr Isaias Barreto da Rosa, disclosed this in Abuja over the weekend, saying the regional bloc was concerned with developing projects and initiatives that “touch the lives of its citizens”.
“We have this project which is the innovation hub; we have many talented young people in West Africa and our unemployment rate is very high. “If we manage to train some of them in entrepreneurship, this can be of assistance so that they can start their small ICT-based business.
“We do believe that our young people can develop solutions and products, put them online and sell to a market of not just 300 million people but seven billion people.
“That is why we have this youth entrepreneurship initiative to promote the establishment of the youth innovation hubs all over our 50-member-states so that we can assist young people with their business ideas, especially ICT-based business ideas.”
Continuing, Barreto da Rosa said “We are working with governments to promote the establishment of these hubs through equipment, training, organisation and competition.
“We will select those young people who have innovative ideas and give them training; and try to sponsor some activities they intend to implement so they can move ahead with their ideas,” Barreto da Rosa said.