LEAP Africa partners with Citi Foundation to empower Nigeria’s Youth

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Commuters walk past a Citibank branch in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

Lagos – LEAP Africa in collaboration with Citibank Nigeria and the Citi Foundation hosted a one-day
roundtable meeting with stakeholders from the educational sector. The purpose of the meeting was to
discuss the needs and challenges/opportunities in the Nigerian education sector with specific focus on
low-income communities.
Stakeholders from the government, Education and Youth Ministries, as well as youth focused NGOs
deliberated and shared innovative solutions and intervention programmes including the partnership
between LEAP and the Citi Foundation under the Pathways to Progress initiative. Discussions highlighted
the significance of inculcating leadership and life skills into the Nigerian curriculum particularly for
secondary schools and discussing the dynamics of its adoption.
There is a growing understanding that the purpose of education goes beyond acquiring technical skills,
and that it is a powerful tool for changing the mind-set of children to live productively and ethically. Given
the structural conditions that limit opportunities for social mobility, more can be done within educational
systems to help the youth navigate around existing limitations and contribute meaningfully to society and
communities.
The learnings from the discussion will be deployed to improve the learning outcomes of young people in
Nigerian secondary schools through the Be the Change (BTC) programme. Be the Change is part of Citi
and the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress initiative to prepare urban youth to thrive in today’s
economy. Led by the philanthropic efforts of the Citi Foundation, and strengthened by the active
involvement of dedicated Citi volunteers, the Pathways to Progress initiative supports programs that help
young people build an entrepreneurial mind-set, acquire leadership, financial and workplace skills, and
begin to engage in the formal economy through a first job.
Funded with an $80,000 grant from the Citi Foundation, BTC is designed to equip youth between the
ages of 13 – 18 years with the leadership, life and employability skills required to achieve personal
excellence, build and stretch their career ambition and help them transition into higher education, paid
employment or profitable self-employment. BTC aims at reaching 450 students and 15 teachers in public
schools in Lagos State from 2018 to 2019.
Pathways to Progress and BTC also support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal No. 8 – Reducing
Youth Unemployment – the next generation of global leaders faces an enormous challenge: The
unemployment rate for young people ages 16–24 is three times higher than it is for adults, with an
estimated 71 million youth around the world looking for work in 2017.The needs are even greater among
low-income youth who encounter even bigger hurdles accessing education, skills training opportunities
and jobs.
According to Akin Dawodu Citi Nigeria CEO, “If we are to grow our economy and safeguard our
communities, we must invest in the development of Nigeria’s youth during their formative years and
ensure they are on the right economic path. Citi and the Citi Foundation have leveraged their global

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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