A job fair in Niger brings together more than 6,000 visitors, entrepreneurs and returnees

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Tahoua – An initiative launched in early 2018 – "Initiatives for Enterprise Development", known as IDEE – is intended to reduce irregular migration by encouraging young Nigerians to believe in themselves as self-entrepreneurs who can create employment for others.

This is the "idea" of the initiative and to date, 86 young entrepreneurs have chosen to start their own business at home with the support of this three-year project of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

One of these start-ups is owned by Soumana, 24, who offers website development, multimedia editing and graphic design services.

Soumana is one of the young Nigerian entrepreneurs who took part in the job fair held last weekend (2-3 March) at the University of Tahoua, Niger, with the support of the Minister of Finance. employment, labor and social security in Niger.

Organized by IOM and the local incubator CIPMEN and funded by the European Union, the Tahoua Employment Fair brought together more than 6,000 visitors and 133 local businesses in two days. This was the first event of its kind in Niger, according to the organizers.

Participants included local and national authorities, EU representatives, media partners, creators of national and international start-ups, representatives of the diaspora, students and returnees.

The IDEE project, deployed in the three cities of Tahoua, Zinder and Niamey, aims to help start-ups by creating local work opportunities as alternatives to irregular migration for young people who lack economic opportunities at home.

Funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy, the IDEE project is being implemented with the support of its partners: CIPMEN, Terre Solidali, Capital Finance and the Ministry of Youth Entrepreneurship in Niger.

To encourage youth participation in the fair, a caravan visited schools, universities and local associations, with nearly 1,500 people informed of the event.

"This initiative is great and indispensable for Tahoua. I hope this is just the beginning for the future of our city, "said Seni, 22, a law student at Tahoua University.

Nigeria has the lowest socio-economic and development indicator (188/188 Human Development Indicators of the United Nations Development Program 2016), with about 40 percent of the population living below the poverty line, pushing its inhabitants to seek better economic opportunities abroad, usually in Libya or Algeria.

The Migrant Resource and Response Mechanism (MRRM), funded by the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, was launched in 2015 to contribute to the promotion of migration with dignity and in full security for all, as well as to support the efforts of the Government to develop an effective approach to migration flows.

Tahoua is an important starting point for Nigeriens migrating to Libya, mainly as seasonal workers. In 2018, some 2,663 Nigerians received support for the voluntary return and reintegration of the IOM Niger team, 53 percent of which came from Tahoua.

Upon their return to Tahoua, IOM helps migrants in their reintegration process to enable returnees to achieve economic self-sufficiency and social stability in their communities.

Although Niger's economy is largely dependent on subsistence agriculture, highlighting higher education and vocational training, projects like IDEE encourage young graduates to start up start-ups and take a different approach to agriculture. 'employment.

During the job fair, the returnees had the chance to get in touch with local entrepreneurs, IDEE beneficiaries and members of the Nigerian diaspora residing in France, Belgium, Italy, Spain and Germany.

A network will soon be created to provide the diaspora, private actors, government authorities and young entrepreneurs with a platform containing the information needed to further promote youth entrepreneurship.

"Niger has the potential to become successful in terms of entrepreneurship because as long as there are needs, there are opportunities for new businesses to grow," said Soumana, one of the young entrepreneurs. "Why leave Niger to be employed when you can become an employer in your own country? "

For more information, please contact Valeria Falaschi, IOM Niger, Tel. +227 8007 0127, email: vfalaschi@iom.int

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