Nigerian minister of youth and sports development, Mr Sunday Dare and his counterparts from Egypt and Algeria held a tripartite meeting on Tuesday in Abuja and agreed to work together for the development of the growth of the countries’ youth and sports industry.
The meeting was part of activities marking the 40th anniversary of Association of National Olympic Committees in Africa (ANOCA) taking place in Abuja.
Speaking after the meeting, the host minister, Sunday Dare said there is a need for three countries to work together to improve the lot of their youth, stating that the youth in Africa have similar desires.
“The three countries have global diplomatic relations and the youth of Africa have similar desires. We have seen the need for these three countries to work together on how to improve the lot of our youths.
“When I visited Egypt some three months ago, we had a joint meeting where we reviewed youth and sports development of both countries and explored common areas we can leverage on.
We spent the past few weeks trying to see which areas can be best explored.
“The population of Youth in Africa, Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt is growing in leaps and bounds. These youths need to be engaged either by giving them employment, or by keeping them busy through sports and competition, providing them finance to start their own businesses or by simply ensuring that we give them the digital skills that they need.
“The youths are restless, if they are not engaged in productive activities, they go on riot, go into drug abuse and other vices. We see sports as a tool for unity and a tool to keep the youth busy. We believe that when a youth goes to practice wrestling in the morning, does the same in the evening all he wants to do is to eat dinner and sleep. But when he sits in the morning, 14 hours every day doing nothing, he can be recruited for protest or recruited for any kind of vices. Sports can be used as a tool to promote peace and unity,” Dare said.
The minister added that the three countries stood to gain many benefits by going into partnership in the sector and exchange of programmes. “From Egypt and Algeria we may have 50 youths selected by the Egyptian Ministry or Algerian Ministry have a program in Nigeria which they will fit into, whether it is a sports event, digital skill or entrepreneurship skills program. We can even start with 10 youth for a month exchange program. That was the practice in the past but it stopped. But youths in Algeria, Egypt and Nigeria want the same thing. They want jobs, capital to start businesses, they want to build a career, they want the government to support them and set them on the path of progress. I think these are the critical areas we can work on.”
In his response, the Algerian youth and sports minister, Abderezak Sebagag, thanked his Nigerian and Egyptian counterparts for the initiative. “I wish to thank the minister of youth and sports development from Nigeria and Egypt.
“Concerning the developmental policy that we want to engage our youth in our respective countries, especially the aspect of improving their digital skills, we have a volunteer program in Algeria,” Sebagag said.
Egyptian minister of youth and sports development, Dr Ashraf Sobhi, on his part, affirmed that, “We as a Ministry, we will work as one country in an effort to develop youth and sports in Africa. With the scheme from the Honourable Minister from Nigeria, we can seek how to work together.
“We should use our roles and positions as ministers of youth and sports to promote our vision and development. If we work together, our development and plans can become reality,” Sobhi asserted.