In a bid to reduce the growing unemployment figures in the country, the Nigerian government has said it will generate about 3.5 million jobs in the agricultural sector by the end of 2015.
Local newspapers Monday quoted the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, as saying, at a briefing by African Ministers of Finance at the ongoing World Bank/IMF meeting in the US, that the targeted figure was achievable due to government’s investments in the sector in the last few months.
She said the investments had led to an improvement in the value chain and the way agriculture is being carried out in the country.
According to the minister, “It is important that once you have established micro economic stability, you should be able to look at how the growth is impacting, and that is why the Nigerian government has taken some steps to ensure that we create jobs and also improve on the standard of living of the people.
“For instance, we are planning to be self-sufficient in rice production by 2015, and that is why the current Minister of Agriculture has said that agriculture is no longer to be seen as a project, but as a business”, she added.
She emphasised the need for African countries to work harder at creating their own markets, work on internal demand and reduce barriers among African nations, to be able to stimulate growth and reduce the continent’s vulnerabilities.
Okonjo-Iweala also disclosed that African countries are now looking at how to attract private sector activities in order to confront some challenges they face.
She called on African nations to strengthen corporation within the region to help the continent put in place a development framework that will be good for the entire continent.