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Young Nigerians See their Prospects Rapidly Diminish

Nigeria’s vast, rapidly growing population of 200 million people has a median age of just 18. Many of its young people have seen their prospects quickly diminish in recent years. Almost half of working-age Nigerians under 35 are either unemployed or underemployed – working part-time when they would like to be full time – the NBS said in March. A shadow has been cast over the young, reinforcing the sense that greener pastures lie elsewhere. Attaining a university degree is a dominant aspiration in Nigerian culture, which venerates academic achievement and excellence. Many people see higher education as a route out of poverty, yet in practice, university qualifications are not working for many young people, said Tokunbo Afikuyomi, the editor of Stears Business, an economic analysis company based in Lagos. In response to rising unemployment, the Buhari government has adopted a number of jobs programmes, including some targeted at young people and graduates that provide short-term roles, placements and training. The government says many of the programmes have helped to boost the employment prospects of hundreds of thousands of young people.