Nigerian Government has expressed willingness to collaborate with Member States of the G8 in its efforts to achieve social-economic development through youth empowerment.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama made this known at the 10th D-8 Summit of Heads of State and Government on Thursday when he virtually represented President Muhammadu Buhari.

The summit has the theme “Partnership for Transformative World: Harnessing the Power of Youth and Technology.”

” Nigeria strongly believes that our youth must be provided with appropriate vocational skills and additional training, and greater inclusion in policy making and implementation.

” To ensure that social peace and the general welfare of our people are guaranteed, we in Nigeria have established several initiatives to actualize the potential inherent in our youth.

” The Nigerian Government has also long recognized the need to ensure our youth’s active involvement in the democratic process. That was why we wasted no time in signing into law “The Not Too Young to Run Bill,” which reduces the age limit for vying for elective office in Nigeria. This has undoubtedly, expanded the political space and engendered greater participation of young people in politics and governance.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has, no doubt, slowed down our development strides. Nevertheless, as we strive to revamp our economies following the devastating impact of the pandemic, we cannot overlook the importance of harnessing innovative technology and its capacity to increase productivity and empower our youths to create new opportunities and generate new services.

“As we continue to seek to deepen cooperation, we urge leaders to leverage on the existing Technology Transfer and Exchange Network (TTEN) platform to support Member States’ initiative to rebuild economies.

“In the spirit of solidarity, we also wish to call on our technologically advanced members to share their expertise with others to develop our countries. It is only by lifting each other up that we can truly uphold the core principles of our Organisation. We are only collectively as strong as our weakest link.

” As we chart a course for the future, we firmly believe that greater commitment should be made towards ensuring that our teeming youth are equipped with technological skills that would promote creativity and innovation. This will undoubtedly engender positive change for the realization of the much-needed economic growth and development.