100 Young Graduates and Entrepreneurs Attend Forum on Youth Employment and Migration in Niger

Published Date: 
Thu, 07/25/2019 - 22:30

Niamey – Between 24-25 July, IOM supported the forum “Youth Entrepreneurship as a Real Alternative to Irregular Migration”, which mobilized more than 100 young entrepreneurs, recent graduates and community leaders from Niger, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Benin, and Togo.

The two-day forum was organized by the Youth Union of the Member States of the Council of the Entente (UJEMCE), designed to promote the economic development of the region, but also to encourage values such as accountability and integrity and, as a result, the fight against corruption.

In order to promote integrity and a strong sense of community among young entrepreneurs, the incubation programme Accountability Lab, member of the international Accountability Lab network based in Washington DC, organized various panels and trainings in this year’s forum.

The initiative was supported by IOM as part of the project “Support to Strengthening the Management of Migration in Niger”, implemented in Niger between December 2017 and September 2019, and funded by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA).

The project was conceived as a pilot initiative that seeks to strengthen the capacity of several national institutions, with key responsibility in managing migration, as well as well as to reinforce awareness-raising activities related to migration management.

This year’s edition focused on the role of vocational institutions and higher education in addressing the roots of irregular migration and the promotion of youth entrepreneurship as a key tool for responding to the phenomenon.

“The purpose of this forum goes beyond the two days,” said Garba Kio Moussa O. Fouta, President of the International Central Office of the UJEMCE. “As the young leaders of tomorrow, we are committing today to making the most of the opportunities that exist for us within the region."

During the forum, different conferences took place, such as Wednesday’s panel delivered by Accountability Lab, on the celebration of failure. The conference aimed to demystify the idea of failure, and to remind the audience that ultimately, failure is not the opposite of success but an integral part of it.

“IOM’s mission in Niger places great importance on the topic of youth employment as a means to fight poverty,” said Barbara Rijks, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Niger. “Through such initiatives, we hope we can unlock the entrepreneurial potential in youth today, and help them contribute to the development of their region.”

The forum also provided a space for various enterprises to promote their offers to students and recent graduates. Among the participants, there were public structures, youth agencies, public and private incubators, banks and microfinance structures.

In addition to debates and discussions, in the frame of the forum, three different trainings were also organized, on creating successful business plans, innovative business ideas, and legal forms and taxes.

This year, along with IOM, the UJEMCE also partnered with the Ministry of Youth Entrepreneurship in Niger, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Executive Secretariat of the Council of the Entente and the National Youth Council (CNJ).

Issa, one of the participants in this year’s forum, opened up about his migration journey during the first day’s panel on failure. Issa left Niger several years ago because of the lack of economic opportunities in his own country. After getting kidnapped and imprisoned in Libya, Issa decided to come back to Niger.

“I want young people today to know nothing is worth risking your life,” Issa says. “When I returned to Niger in 2015, I started working in agriculture and livestock breeding. Now I earn my living with dignity.”

For more information, please contact Monica Chiriac at IOM Niger at Tel: +227 8931 8764, Email: mchiriac@iom.int.