By: Femi Esan
There seems to be a gap in properly analyzing, identifying, and implementing interventions that effectively address and reflect the Nigerian youth’s unique role, priorities, and needs in the nation’s housing sector.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “We cannot always build the future for our youths, but we can build our youths for the future.”
The current precarious state of Nigeria’s housing sector necessitates a serious and sober reflection on the way forward. Actors and perpetrators in the sector’s progress wheel continue to be enshrined in ambiguity. Many times, young professionals in the built and construction sector are unsure of who or where to direct their rage or cast aspersions.
Despite these uncertainties, one thing is certain; it is becoming increasingly difficult for any sector to ignore the youths who are assets to their nations.
The deluge of unemployed youths in Nigeria can be attributed to poor governance and a failure to plan for the exploding population. Many years of unemployment have resulted in frustration and low self-esteem, robbing young people of the confidence they need to look for work or come up with new ideas and become self-employed. As a result, many youths are lured into undesirable behaviours and nefarious activities such as kidnapping, cyber fraud, prostitution, human trafficking, and the like to survive.
No doubt, the Africa International Housing Show (AIHS), in recent times, has not only chosen the development path of raising a credible successor generation of housing advocates and professionals but has been developing various strategies to ensure that a strong partnership between young and older professionals in the housing sector exist without leaving any stone unturned.
AIHS believes that if young professionals are to be future movers and shakers of the housing sector, it is critical to pave the way for them and allow them to nurture their dreams, goals, vision, and aspirations. As a result, youth inclusion should be a top priority.
In fulfillment of its youth inclusion drive, AIHS introduced the Youth Competition on Affordable Housing Design and Ideas in 2021, a healthy intellectual engagement that focuses on the interconnections between housing, healthcare, and economic opportunity. It also aids in the matching of graduate/undergraduate students with professionals. The platform give students a leverage to combine classroom learning with hands-on experience in affordable housing development.
The competition allows participants to showcase the components of modern life and living in their projects, which include a clean, green, and sustainable community that seeks to improve the quality of urban living or slow down the negative impact of urbanization, and an affordable and budget friendly community that reduces people’s cost of living. The Youth competition is not a one-off affair but a continuous process of grooming and nurturing future housing experts.
Going forward, AIHS recently introduced its first-of-its-kind U40 & Young Professional meet-up programme, which provides young and aspiring professionals under the age of 40 with the opportunity to be exposed to the latest trends in the housing sector while joining a professional group that gives them an advantage to reach the top of their career.
AIHS is bringing about significant changes in the Nigerian housing ecosystem. With new strategies and innovative ideas, the time has come to have a discussion about how to best support young professionals in the built and construction industry in reaching their full potential. Breaking down barriers to youth inclusion will be a vital guide for charting the course forward. As a result, this article serves as a good starting point for a conversation between older and younger professionals in Nigeria housing sector.
Femi Esan is a Journalist and PR Expert. You can reach him via firstname.lastname@example.org