Group, microfinance banks sign MoU to train 12,000 youths

Youth gathering PHOTO: thesheet

Youth gathering PHOTO: thesheet

YOUTH Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Access and Development (YOULEAD) an initiative of CUSO International has partnered with MEDA Canada to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with four Micro Finance banks in Cross River State to train over 12, 000 young Entrepreneurs in capacity building.

Representative of MEDA Canada, Jennifer Denomy who signed the MoU on behalf of MEDA said the YOULEAD project is a Canadian government funded project implemented by CUSO International to help young people to start businesses and find jobs.

He said the project “is specially focusing on agriculture and national resource management”.

With the signing of the MOU, she said “youths can get loans to start businesses through four micro finance partners in Cross River state and MEDA Nigeria. We are going to help these partners develop good loan products for young people so that young people will be able to access more financial services to start businesses. This is built around capacity building”.

She noted that, “the project is a five year programme and we started last year and we still have four years to go. This project is to train 12,000 young men and women within five years and 5, 000 of them should be able to build up businesses for themselves.
“We will work with you (the finance companies) on how to access youth business train them on entrepreneurship that will provide business development support to the youths”.

On his part, the YOULEAD Project Director, Christopher Braeuel said “the opportunity is to enhance opportunities for young men and women in Cross River state to start small business and to expand existing businesses. One of the key aspects of that pursuit is promoting great access to finance.

“We involve in training, business plan development, in technical knowhow. What we did today was to gather key partners in micro finance institutes and to share with them the work we have done so far and looking some of the challenges and opportunities in access in Cross River from the demand side, from the youth perspective and also from those who are providing the loans”.

He pointed out that “another key objective was to notify these relationship with our partners with the signing of the MoU and create a mutual responsibility as CUSO, MEDA Canada and as the financial institutions to ensure that we achieve the objectives for the project which is to create 5,000 small businesses and additional 500.”

The Managing Director of Unical Microfinance Bank, John Owan who signed on behalf of his bank, said, “the initiative that we have created is very important to us because you are going to help us create youth portfolio. The financial aspect is there but what is remaining is the training.

“We know the problems of assessing loans and we know how it is to get bank loans from the youths but with this initiative by CUSO, we are sure of a better way to assess it when the youths are trained”.

One of the beneficiaries, Ugbo Gabriel, the Chief Executive Officer of Briel Farms Enterprise lauded the project by CUSO, MEDA Canada and others saying it will go a long way to benefit the youths.

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