Empowerment Agenda: Bridging the Financial Literacy Gap Among African Youths

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As Africa strides boldly into a future defined by innovation and economic growth, the need for financial literacy among its burgeoning youth has never been more critical. With a surge in university graduates entering the workforce, equipping them with comprehensive financial knowledge stands as a pivotal step towards ensuring their success and fortifying the continent’s economic landscape.

The African continent, with its dynamic and youthful population, stands on the cusp of transformative change. However, this promising demographic dividend can only be maximised if coupled with robust financial acumen. Financial literacy represents the bedrock upon which young graduates can build a secure and prosperous future.

One of the foremost challenges facing young African graduates is the transition from academia to the professional world. Amidst this transition, the dearth of practical financial knowledge often leaves them vulnerable to financial pitfalls. A well-structured financial literacy programme tailored for these graduates can serve as a guiding beacon, steering them away from financial jeopardy and towards stability and success.

In light of this, a groundbreaking initiative aimed at fortifying Nigeria’s youth against the challenges of the modern workforce, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Foundation, in collaboration with Kudimata Nigeria Limited, has embarked on a mission to imbue National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members with essential financial literacy skills. This transformative programme aspires to elevate over 200,000 graduates, nurturing them to become dynamic entrepreneurs and employers of labour.


The resounding success of this endeavour has already seen over 118,000 youth corps members equipped with fundamental financial literacy skills. With a commitment to broader impact, approximately 70,000 members are currently undergoing training across the 37 NYSC orientation camps spread across the nation.


During an enlightening session, Emmanuella Arukwe, Managing Director of the NNPC Foundation, underscored the paramount importance of financial literacy in today’s competitive employment landscape. She highlighted the training’s significance not only in securing employment but as a transformative journey towards individual fulfilment, ultimately paving the path for the nation’s sustainable prosperity.


Addressing the gathering, Arukwe implored the corps members to transcend the conventional pursuit of white-collar jobs and embrace the entrepreneurial spirit. She reiterated the NNPC Foundation’s steadfast commitment to nurturing these young individuals into formidable employers, spearheading a monumental shift in their professional trajectories.


“We are deeply passionate about the youth and recognise the NYSC as an exceptional platform. Covering a demographic of 20 to 30-year-olds, it serves as an ideal ground for equipping individuals with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions and initiate entrepreneurial ventures,” Arukweemphasised.


The comprehensive programme spans across the nation, encompassing all 36 states along with the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). This marks the inaugural phase of a series of initiatives that aim to instill a culture of entrepreneurship among the corps members. Those successfully passing the examination with a commendable 70 percent will progress to subsequent stages. Here, they will receive comprehensive training on business management, ensuring their adeptness in steering successful enterprises.


Recognising unemployment as a prevalent challenge, Arukweaffirmed, “We are keenly aware of the persistent issue of unemployment among young graduates. Our concerted effort is to empower these youths through comprehensive capacity-building initiatives, thereby not only alleviating unemployment but also contributing to the overall economic development of Nigeria.”


Shokpeka Winifred, the FCT Coordinator of NYSC, extended gratitude to the NNPC Foundation and Kudimata Nigeria Ltd. for their unwavering commitment to empowering corps members and equipping them with vital skills to become self-sufficient and efficient custodians of wealth.


“The training equips these young minds with invaluable insights into financial management, fostering responsible stewardship of resources. We anticipate their adeptness in utilising their finances wisely, thus facilitating their evolution into future business magnates through mentorship,” Winifred asserted.


Reflecting on the transformative experience, corps members at the Abuja NYSC orientation camp conveyed their appreciation for the initiative. Prudence Enema commended the NNPC Foundation, recognising the training’s importance in cultivating financial prudence and safeguarding future financial stability.


Similarly, Okeke Ugochukwu underscored the significance of the training, particularly its emphasis on the criticality of savings and effective financial management.


Femi Soneye, NNPC Ltd.’s Chief Corporate Communications Officer, affirmed the corporation’s unwavering commitment to empowering Nigeria’s youth through such impactful initiatives, signalling a pivotal step towards shaping a financially literate and entrepreneurially vibrant future.

As the NNPC Foundation continues to nurture the aspirations of Nigeria’s budding entrepreneurs, the ripple effects of this financial literacy initiative are poised to elevate the nation’s economic landscape, fostering a generation of visionary leaders who will steer Nigeria towards sustained prosperity.

Africa currently stands on the threshold of economic transformation; investing in the financial literacy of its young university graduates emerges as a strategic imperative. By empowering them with financial acumen, Africa not only secures the future of its youth but also lays the groundwork for a robust and economically vibrant continent poised for sustained prosperity.

King Richard is the Head of Editorial at African Leadership Magazine, UK, and can be reached via king.richards@africanleadership.co.uk

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