ECOWAS says it is developing an information technology “innovation hubs” in member states to address unemployment in the region. ECOWAS Commissioner for Telecommunications and Information Technologies, Dr Isaias Barreto da Rosa, disclosed this in Abuja on Friday.
He said that the regional bloc was concerned with developing projects and initiatives that “touch the lives of its citizens”.
‘’We have this project which is the innovation hub; we have many talented young people in West Africa and our unemployment rate is very high. “If we manage to train some of them in entrepreneurship, this can be of assistance so that they can start their small ICT-based business.
“We do believe that our young people can develop solutions and products, put them online and sell to a market of not just 300 million people but seven billion people.
“That is why we have this youth entrepreneurship initiative to promote the establishment of the youth innovation hubs all over our 50-member-states so that we can assist young people with their business ideas, especially ICT-based business ideas.”
The ECOWAS commissioner said that the project launched in 2016 was to complement existing youth initiative programmes in member states.
He said that the commission was also working with governments of member states to promote the establishment of these hubs.
“We are working with governments to promote the establishment of these hubs through equipment, training, organisation and competition.
“We will select those young people who have innovative ideas and give them training; and try to sponsor some activities they intend to implement so they can move ahead with their ideas,” he said.
According to him, the commission will work with the private and development partners to facilitate the process.