Mr Will Stevens, the United States’ Consul General in Nigeria, says the U.S. government will continue to partner Nigerian universities in the effort to enhance the nation’s economy.
Stevens made the remark during the graduation ceremony of the 10 participants of “Learn to Earn Project” at the American Corner, University of Port Harcourt, Choba.
Our Corrwespondent reports that 10 young women graduated from the programme funded by the United States African Development Foundation and implemented by MOBA Designs.
The young women were trained for six months on how to make sustainable and affordable furniture for African households and industries from reusable materials such as tyres and plastic waste.
Stevens explained that the aim of the training was to empower young women, reduce pollution, create healthy environment as well as provide leadership and business management skills and to earn a living.
He said that America has 11 corners in Nigeria where trainings are taken and participants received sustaining grant of between US$10,000 and US$100,000 from the support of the Consulate after training.
The Consul General, however, said ‘’Nigeria is the largest participants of the U.S. programmes in Africa.”
He added that the partnership exchange between the universities in U.S. and those in Nigeria, from the foundation of the people’s democratic setting, made their relationship vast.
According to him, “the idea that our students are learning from your academics and your students are learning from United States of America, creates an environment of partnership for us to work together.
“Last decade, we talked about how we need to help find African solutions to African problems, we need to be working together to help find African solutions to global problems.
“We are here to work together to enable and empower incredible young African entrepreneurs to find solutions to problems facing the entire world.
“We are here in American Corner focusing on bringing American opportunities and ideas to the people of Port Harcourt through the University of Port Harcourt and to Nigeria also.
He maintained that he was very proud to focus on women entrepreneurship.
According to him, women make up more than 30 percent of the world population but only 40 percent of the global workforce and yet they have only 1 percent of the global solution.
“We know that when women are working, their money goes home to the children, to education and health of the next generation.’’
Stevens, however, commended the university for the “great work” it was doing and using the grant to help more entrepreneurs in Port Harcourt.
Prof. Owunari Georgewill, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, said that the impact of the training in the American Corner was obvious.
He stated that people came to the corner under the support of the American Government through its consulate to learn skills which yielded a lot of benefits in the country.
Georgewill said that the university would remain grateful to the American Government for what it has been doing at the University of Port Harcourt.
He said that combining degrees with skills would produce a total manpower in the country.
He noted that the Consulate had always seen to their challenges at the American Corner, saying that there is room for improvement.
The Creative Director for MOBA Designs, Beauty Martins, thanked the American Consulate for the support to young entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
Martins said that about 700 women have been trained on how to make furniture with used tyers and about 20 percent now run their businesses in Port Harcourt and other cities in Nigeria.
She urged young Nigerians to embrace entrepreneurship training to improve their standard of living.