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In its quest to promote entrepreneurship in the FCT and its environs, the Abuja Enterprise Agency has approached the International Labour Organization (ILO) for possible entrepreneurial opportunities and collaborations.

To this end, a management team of the ILO Nigeria and that of AEA on Thursday went on a familiarization tour to four project sites of the One Village One Product (OVOP) Shea butter processing centers in Nuku and Rimba Communities of Abaji Area Council, the Cassava Processing Center in Chukuku Community of Kuje Area Council and the FCT Micro Finance Bank in Kwali.

The familiarization visit is as a result of the courtesy visit paid by AEA to ILO earlier. ILO has expressed its readiness to partner with the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) through Abuja Enterprise Agency (AEA) to promote entrepreneurship education in the FCT. The Director of the ILO Nigeria Office, Dennis Zulu, stated this when he received a team from AEA.

The Managing Director/CEO, Arabi Muhammad Tukur represented by the Manager Asset Management Chudi Ezerigwe, while introducing the Agency stated that AEA is the FCT vehicle for Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) development and poverty reduction. According to him, the Agency focused on the development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises within the FCT, and aimed to assist new and existing entrepreneurs to overcome obstacles through access to finance, proper business planning, developing entrepreneurship skills and suitable work-space.

Dennis Zulu, stated that there were a lot of entrepreneurial potentials in Abuja, which if well harnessed, will create a lot of job opportunities for women and youth in FCT including those in the rural areas of the territory.   

The Agency expressed their interest to work with ILO in developing relevant programs and activities aimed at stimulating and nurturing Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME). In the course of the meeting, representatives from AEA stated that they have assisted entrepreneurs within the FCT especially in rural communities on how to effectively manage their businesses and secure credit for their businesses by organizing them into cooperative societies. This assistance was not limited to SMEs in the cities; but was extended to the informal sector in rural areas as well.

Zulu assured the Agency of the ILO’s readiness to support the AEA in developing its capacities to promote entrepreneurial skills training on various skills including waste recycling. He emphasized the need for collaboration to ensure the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria and looked forward to formalizing the collaboration with the signing of a memorandum of understanding.

BY Asiya Sulaiman