Governor Peter Mbah at the Enugu State Investment Roundtable on Friday, September 1, 2023. Twitter/@DanNwomeh
The Governor of Enugu State, Peter Mbah has said that programmes and policies of his administration are geared towards providing opportunities for young people in the state and ending the ‘japa’ syndrome.
Japa is a Yoruba word used to describe the recent wave of migration by Nigerians, especially young people to other countries for greener pastures.
The governor in an interview on the sidelines of the Enugu State Investment Roundtable hosted by the state government in Enugu on Friday, said his administration wants to ensure that the people stay in the state and “rather japa their skills around the globe.”
“A whole lot of these programmes and the discussions we are having about bringing in private sector investment, they are all targeted at benefitting our young people. We have a generation of skillful people in Enugu; I mean our literacy rate in Enugu is over 90 per cent.
“Again, through our policies we want to rubbish the japa syndrome. We want to ensure that our people stay here and japa their skills across the globe, what they are going to be moving around the globe will be their digital skills,” Mbah said.
He added that because the world is rapidly moving to a supersonic pace today, “we also realise that we need to ensure that our young people are prepared for the emerging future.”
“So, we understand that the skill set that they need to thrive in this emerging future is completely different from what was required some 20, 30 years ago. What that means is even in our social sector we are deliberate in terms of the skill set we expose this young people to.”
The governor described Friday’s event as one to wet the appetite of the investing community that Enugu is indeed the next destination of investment, adding that what the government hopes to achieve in the diaspora and investment summit in the first quarter of next year is investment closures.
“In our pipeline, we have an investment potential of $2 billion and we are expecting to have a closure of that figure by the first quarter of next year,” he said.
Mbah also noted that he identified insecurity as one of the main challenges of the government’s quest to attract investors which informed his decision to tackle the problem head-on, adding that the state is now one of the safest in Nigeria for business.