Enhanced funding possibilities for Nigeria’s technical, vocational and entrepreneurship education projects emerged in Abuja Wednesday as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission in Nigeria, indicated interest in the sponsorship of the Solar Kiosk project, one of the flagship projects of the programme.

The development was the outcome of a visit to the Commission by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Technical, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Education (SSAP-TVEE), Madam Abiola Arogundade, who was at the Commission in continuation of her drive to garner partnership for the success of the programme.

In her remarks at the meeting with the Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture in the Commission, Mrs. Massandje Toure-Litse, Madam Arogundade explained that her office decided to embark on the Solar Kiosk project as a means to reach the greatest number of Nigerians in the quest to accomplish the mandate of her office to contribute substantially to poverty reduction in the country.

The SSAP-TVEE, who described the Solar Project as a one-stop shop for the beneficiaries, ranging from hairdressers and barbers, to carpenters and other artisans, explained that aside working independently outside of the national power supply, the kiosk would also provide alternative sources of income for them as the kiosks are also installed with charging points for phone charging and other facilities as well as space for other small businesses.

The TVEE boss, who was accompanied on the visit by the project consultants, said the kiosk project has also provided jobs for other artisans like carpenters, welders and others, who, according to her, are not only involved in the construction but would also be retained for the regular maintenance of the kiosks.

Highlight of the meeting was an elaborate presentation titled, “REDEFINING NIGERIA’S ENTREPRENEURSHIP SPACE; SOLAR KIOSK PROJECT (SKP), which encapsulated all the aims, objectives and functions of the project as well as the contents in terms of design and prototyping, materials sourcing, branding and marketing, quality control, monitoring, evaluation among others.

Responding, the ECOWAS Commissioner expressed delight at the concept, design and objectives of the project saying that the Community would be interested to fund such home bred initiative given that it could be promoted at the Regional level to accomplish one of its important objectives which, according to her, is poverty reduction.

The Commissioner, who was accompanied to the meeting by the Acting Director, Trade, Mr. Kolawole Sofola, noted that with the design and installations, shown in the presentation, it would not only provide opportunities for business expansion but also business continuity in terms of power supply adding that it would be an advantage given Nigeria’s power potentials.

Committing to the escalation of the project’s funding issue to the Leadership of the Commission, the Commissioner who promised to take the issue to the Vice President of the Commission, noted, however, that there would be need at some point to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

Other members of the Commission at the meeting were the, Executive Assistant, Mr. Diabate Bazounana two trade facilities experts, Sarah Akpofure and Ishmael Tidjania and a Foreign Service Officer from the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to ECOWAS, Ms Kanoba Emmanuella, among others.

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