Odunayo Sanya, Executive Secretary of the MTN Foundation, states that the Foundation is committed to youth development and the development of entrepreneurial skills in order to bridge employment gaps in Nigeria. She made the remarks during a panel discussion at the 7th annual Project Management Institute (PMI) Africa conference, which was held at Eko Hotels in Lagos.
Odunayo spoke alongside other experts at the conference, which took place on Tuesday, September 13th, 2022, including Josh Adler, Executive Director of the Anzisha Prize; Laura Davidson, Social Impact Manager, Project Management Institute (PMI); Peter Wander, Principal Corporate Services & Communications, Mount Kenya University Foundation, and Professor Yakubu Ochei, Secretary General of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigeria.
Odunayo said of MTN Foundation’s investment in education and entrepreneurship, “We at MTN Foundation understand that education is a path.” We believe that formal education has no bearing on innovation. We understand that not everyone has the opportunity to attend formal school. Young people consider their future, gratification, and the job they want to do. As a result, this is critical for us. It became clear to us what we could do to make a difference. That is Nigerian youth development.
In terms of education, we have the MTN Foundation scholarship scheme, which is primarily focused on STEM. We also offer scholarships to Nigerians who are blind. These are exceptional scholarships, and it is amazing what these young people can accomplish. We also collaborate with our ecosystem partners to train and retrain young people in entrepreneurship. We provide ICT and entrepreneurship training. We have awarded approximately 12,000 scholarships over the years. “At the Foundation, these are some of the ways we combine education and entrepreneurship in the communities where we work,” she said.
According to the World Bank’s 2021 report, youth unemployment in Nigeria is 19.6%. Nigeria has one of the highest unemployment rates in Africa.
The PMI Africa conference is an annual gathering of visionary project leaders, industry captains, and senior government officials to examine the trends and technologies that are transforming how public and private sector projects are delivered. The highly anticipated gathering brings together leaders and businesses from across the continent for three days of discussion, knowledge sharing, and skill retention.
The 2022 edition, now in its seventh year, is themed “Sustainable Growth for Social Good: Connecting Ideas, People, and Projects.” This year’s conference will focus on enhancing the project economy’s role in promoting sustainable and inclusive growth in the region.