Two days ago, I moderated a one-on-one session with a proudly Nigerian entrepreneur, John Tani Obaro, who for close to three decades has focused on building solutions designed to transform inefficiencies to effectiveness as well as ensure that transparency is enthroned in financial transactions as witnessed with the Treasury Single Account.
The session was part of the fifth edition of the FATE Foundation Alumni conference, with the theme ‘leapfrogging with technology’. The conference brought to the fore the need to constantly innovate by staying ahead of the curve. This is why the place of mentoring remains extremely important, otherwise younger entrepreneurs might end up making some avoidable mistakes. Anyway, I have no doubt in my heart that attendees left the conference with a better understanding of how to build more entrepreneurial resilience, leveraging technology.
Indeed, technology has changed every aspect of our daily existence and one key lesson from the whole pandemic experience is that countries not prepared for what is ahead will have themselves to blame. The world is in constant flux, and for us to be better prepared, there is a need to start positioning the next generation of tech entrepreneurs.
Positioning them involves exposing and giving them access to the right tools, platforms and information, so that hopefully, they become builders or, if you like, employers of labour someday. Frankly, one of the things that scare me the most about being a Nigerian living in Nigeria is the high rate of unemployment. Nigeria’s Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, once pointed out with concern the rising unemployment rate in the country which at that time stood at over 15 million jobseekers.
That was in 2019, by the end of the second quarter of 2020, the number increased to 21.7 million and this is according to a recent unemployment data report published by the National Bureau of Statistics. This is alarming by any stretch of the imagination; we cannot continue to act like there isn’t fire on the mountain. Indeed, it is a scary situation.
While I accept that technology does not have all the answers, I do believe that technology can help us answer so many questions around our future as a viable, prosperous country. Think about it for a moment: Irrespective of whether we are prepared or not, technology is advancing rapidly; so it is in our best interest to at least do something so that if and when our major source of revenue gets affected, we can fully pivot to the knowledge economy. This is not just a reality confronting Nigeria but also the entire African continent.
The government and the private sector are encouraged to assist young tech entrepreneurs in developing their startups and hopefully, scale them globally. “Now, we are able to go out as Nigerians, when we want to or you choose to be anonymous. You can run your software and nobody really cares where it is coming from, so long as it works,” said Obaro, managing director/chief executive officer of SystemSpecs, — Finish Reading on the Punch