Immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan has said his era witnessed unprecedented economic growth for Nigeria.
Jonathan, who spoke yesterday to students of Oxford University on youth entrepreneurship, said the country experienced a growth that proved the truism that a nation’s wealth is not underneath the ground but between the ears of her people.
According to the former president, “Nigeria was rated as the largest economy in Africa and the 23rd in the world by the World Bank and the IMF, with a GDP above $570 billion.”
He stated further: “We identified Nollywood as a sector that can employ many young people and provided a grant of $200 million to boost the industry. As a result, Nollywood became a major contributor to our GDP and in 2014, the industry contributed 1.4 per cent to our GDP.
“Why do individuals that grow up in similar circumstances end up differently, with some as successes and others as failures? Why are some nations rich and some poor? Is the wealth of nations a result of geography, weather, culture, and destiny? What could a leader do to effectively lift a people out of the depths of poverty and enable them to achieve prosperity?
“After much soul searching, I concluded that: wealth is a creation of the human mind properly prepared by education. Any nation that does not spend its wealth and resources to develop the capacity of its youths will be forced to use them to fight insecurity.”
He challenged “contemporary African leaders to see youth entrepreneurship as a collective project transcending national boundaries, adding “despite incredible challenges, Nigerian youths are achieving great things and placing Nigeria positively in the world map. They inspire us.”
Jonathan also declared that he “worked for the next generation of Nigerians and not for the next elections.”
Defending his administration’s Transformation Agenda, he stressed that it was designed to engage the latent potential in the entire nation, as well as stimulate and enable higher productivity.
He said further: “I am excited to be in the midst of some of the World’s future leaders to discuss issues relating to youth empowerment and entrepreneurship. The issue of youth entrepreneurship in Africa is very critical, as Africa is the only continent in which we will witness a population boom. Most violent crises in Africa can be traced to a lack of education and opportunities among its teeming youth population. Studies have revealed that there is a symbiotic relationship between youth unemployment and youth restiveness.”
“As a leader, you can decide through your policies to educate the youths, or face the consequences of failing to do so. The transformation agenda was conceived to engage the latent potential in the entire nation, and to stimulate and enable higher productivity.”