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Centres of Excellence

Unemployment and Skills Development

Youth unemployment remains a crucial challenge dominating political thinking on global development agendas. In 2016, more than 600 million youths (young men and women aged between 15-35yrs) constituting about 47.1% of the global population, were unemployed.

This statistics is more severe in Africa given the prevailing rate of youth unemployment at average of 23.5 percentage in Sub-Saharan Africa (ILO, 2018), and 30 percentages in North Africa (ILO, 2016). As unemployment continues to hurt the young generation, engaging youth in efforts to address unemployment challenges is more relevant and important than ever.  Africa’s greatest asset is, however, supposed to be its rapidly increasing population of youth projected to be over 840 million by 2050 (UNDP, 2017), but as at today this increasing youth population has been a great social burden to the world, government, society and even the youth themselves. The current realities revealed this astronomical growth as a time bomb than opportunity if urgent and deliberate steps are not taken.

For example, as at 2017, youth unemployment in Nigeria, South-Africa, Egypt and Kenya stand at 33.1, 53.7, 34.43, and 26.21 percentages respectively (, 2019). With a current median age of approximately 19 years; forecasted to reach 25years in 2046, young people will continue to comprise nearly half of the population of many countries on the continent of Africa in the next three to five decades. Youth unemployment continue to exacerbate domestic and global challenges including mass illegal migration, social exclusion, poverty, low economic growth rate, and intergenerational conflicts over labour-market policies. Currently, Africa has nearly 420 million youths but more than 140 million are unemployed and another 140 million are vulnerably employed (African Development Bank, 2018). Each year, more than 12 million youths seek for wage employment from the workforce but only 3.1 million jobs are created (African Development Bank, 2016). This leaves a majority unemployed, and with yearly backlog of nearly 9 million unemployed youths, pervasive and severe consequences loom! The African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Centre of Excellence for Unemployment and Skills Development (ARUA-USD, CoE), located in University of Lagos, is taking the initiative to develop a comprehensive international Stakeholder partnership for the advancement of a holistic strategy to tackle the crisis of youth unemployment in African countries  through entrepreneurship and skills development to re-orientate the youth towards self-independency and confidence to create jobs and become employers of labour rather than seeking unavailable employment from sparsely available employers of labour. ARUA-USD, CoE intends to employ sustainable networking of multi-national Stakeholders and experts from ARUA members countries as well as international partnering countries and universities to engage collaboration and projects that can assist the Centre to achieve its primary object of eradication youth unemployment in Africa.

Continuous research and projects that intend to identify key factors to tackle the challenge of youth unemployment in African countries and provide platforms to engage young people and stakeholders as active actors in exploring solutions for creating economically productive future will always be the priority of ARUA-USD, CoE. Projects outputs shall be directed towards bringing increased attention to the growing challenges of unemployment among youths in Africa, and stimulate government intervention, civil society commitment, the private sector consciousness to promoting better working conditions as well as young people’s capacity to providing sustainable solutions. The CoE shall be very open to collaborating and learning from the wealth of experience of Professionals and Resource Persons from the global north region that have successfully addressed the challenges of youth unemployment and utilized innovative measures to enhance the productive capacities of young people. The primary objective of the ARUA CoE for Unemployment and Skills Development is to tackle the challenges of youth unemployment using a stakeholder network approach involving academic research institutions and non-academic institutions with shared vision, interests, goals and objectives of developing integrated approaches to maximize youth employment opportunities. Addressing Africa’s multi-faceted causes of youth unemployment will not only drive inclusive economic growth, but will also draw economic dividends from Africa’s youth-concentrated demographic

Specific Objectives of ARUA CoE for Unemployment and Skills Development (ARUA-USD, CoE)

  • Engender strong collaboration among researchers and experts in Africa focusing on entrepreneurship and skills development as intervention tools to the challenges of unemployment in Africa.
  • Capacity building of young faculty members in doctoral and postdoctoral training in partnership with ARUA universities in Africa and ARUA partners across the world to build team of experts that will constantly research into youth unemployment in Africa and the needed entrepreneurship and innovation interventions that can provide lasting solutions to this menace in Africa;
  • Annual conferences and workshops, seminars and stakeholder engagement meetings that will bring the town and gown together to harmoniously work together to build the African youth to believe in themselves to combat unemployment; 
  • Empower African youth with the entrepreneurial  skills for self-reliance to fight unemployment and poverty across Africa;
  • Promote entrepreneurship innovation and design thinking capable of igniting the best collaborative research that can help discover the hidden treasures of Africa;
  • Discover and develop the creativity and entrepreneurial skills in students and Faculty Members toward product development and new business ventures that can emerge into companies of African origin that will be globally competitive;
  • Establish a broad network of stakeholders (i.e. African governments, multinational corporations, captain of industries, government development agencies, NGOs, etc.) that will be committed to promoting solutions to youth unemployment and skills development.
  • Foster collaboration among researchers by enhancing the international mobility within Africa and across the United Kingdom (UK) and North America for enhancement of knowledge and shared brainstorming on structural policies capable of encouraging innovation, soft skills and business development skills that will reduce unemployment and aid the future of work in Africa.
  • Establish a state-of-the-art Incubation and Accelerator Centres for ideation and developing start-ups into business Champions across African region;
  • Promote Student’s entrepreneurship Ideas (SEI) by encouraging clusters of undergraduates working in teams to turn ideas into reality through venture creation and business across Africa, thereby depopulating the future unemployment and poverty group;
  • Provide training opportunities for entrepreneurs in Africa for capacity building and business development and scale-up strategies


PROFILE of Dr. Sunday Abayomi, ADEBISI

Associate Professor & Director ARUA-USD, CoE

Dr. Sunday Abayomi ADEBISI is an Associate Professor in the Department of Business Administration, and the Director, Entrepreneurship and Skills Development Centre, University of Lagos, Nigeria. In 2018, his proposal won the hosting rightof the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Centre of Excellence for University of Lagos to become the Leader and Hub in Africa for research in engaging Skills Development and Sustainable Entrepreneurship to combat the menace of unemployment in Africa. He is also the Director of this ARUA Research Centre of Excellence. He was also the Lead Researcher (Rocket Data Star) of the Regional Entrepreneurship Accelerated Program (REAP); an Entrepreneurship programme that University of Lagos conducted in partnership with the MIT, United States of America. Dr. Adebisi has turned around the story of Entrepreneurship education in University of Lagos by bringing this very important knowledge out of the oblivion. He has led the students to achieve many milestones among which are; leading 22 Teams comprising 156 Students and 35 Lecturers of University of Lagos to innovate and design 22 new products and services prototypes in the Lufthansa sponsored Design Thinking project in 2017 of which 3 of them are already being developed into a full blown business. He recently; in April 2018, led 20 Teams of 4 Students each across the entire University to participate, for the first time in 40 years, the Coca-Cola sponsored Global Management Challenge (GMC) Business Simulation Competition. He led UNILAG students to win nationally and they proceeded to represent Nigeria for the first time ever, in the Dubai International Competition. He has just recently in May 2019 led the students to win the Global Management Challenge in Nigeria for University of Lagos to also represent Nigeria in Russia by July, 2019.

 Dr. Adebisi is a First-Class Honors graduate, with a Ph.D. degree in Business Administration. His specializations include; Sustainable Strategic Entrepreneurship (for Unemployment Solutions); International Business & Entrepreneurship; Business Development for Youth Economic Empowerment; .Competitive Strategy and presently developing insight into Forensic Strategic Management. He has published widely home and abroad and with about 50 journal articles and books to his credits. As part of his excellent performances in pragmatic research, Dr Adebisi was appointed the Project Manager and Research Advisor of the $500,000 Commercial Pilot of M(E)thanol Clean Cookstoves Project of the Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) in Lagos, Nigeria, the first of its kind project in West Africa. He was, therefore, seconded by the University to Shell for two years to oversee this Pilot Study. He is a Scholar of the Soochow University China, with a fully sponsored research study by the Chinese Government between in 2013. His China’s research outcomes presented at the 2014 World Conference of the British Academy of Management (BAM) held in Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom(where 914 papers were presented from more than 350 Universities over 50 countries of the world), won an International award of Best Full Paper in Performance Management and was the only award won by an African in the total 36 awards presented. In June 2017, he also won another international Award of the EFMD 2016 Best African Case in Berlin, Germany. He is a member of many Professional and Academic bodies: Academy of International Business (AIB) USA; Strategic Management Society (SMS) USA; British Academy of Management (U.K.); The Academy of Management, Nigeria (TAMN); Nigerian Society for Financial Research (NSFR); Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM Chartered); and National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN).

Dr Adebisi passion is to see to it that Africa replicates the Silicon Valley of America to engender sporadic innovation and entrepreneurship development for poverty eradication and economic self-sufficiency for African youth. Dr Adebisi is poised to making African youths gainfully engaged and productive not by working for anyone or queuing for the unavailable jobs, but by creating many business Start-ups right from Campus and grow them to business empires. This passion of his has made him to drive aggressive collaborations with private sector and meaningful entrepreneurs to support the realization of this dream of his University. Coupled with winning for the University, the ARUA Centre of Excellence for Unemployment and Skills Development, there is no doubt that University of Lagos is fully ready to become the entrepreneurship and innovation hub for Africa that will push a new frontier in the teaching, research and practice of Entrepreneurship for economic development of African nations. He is the Track Expert for Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Sustainable Development Goals in Africa. He can be contacted through: Tel. +234-08028263032; +2347032732296 E-Mails:;

Other faculty and research members of the Centre are spread across the ARUA Universities in Africa, non ARUA Universities in Africa as well as strong allies from United Kingdom and North America. Some of these include;

University of Cape Town, South Africa: Dr. Cecil Mlatsheni ( )

University of Ghana, Legion, Ghana:Dr. Charles Godfred Ackah ( )

University of Nairobi, Kenya: Prof. Bitange Ndemo ( )

American University in Cairo Egypt: Prof. Ayman Ismail; ( )

Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria: Dr. Femi Obembe (

Copperbelt University, Zambia: Prof. Jameson Mbale )

Kenyatta University, Kenya: Prof. Grace Wamue-Ngare (

University of Iowa, United States: Dimy Doresca (

Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada: Prof. Tony Bailetti (

Lancaster University, United Kingdom: Prof. Kirk Semple (