Experts in the technology sector have emphasised the need to create more opportunities for young Nigerians to learn digital and technology skills to solve local problems. They spoke at the first edition of the Nigeria-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) next generation series, tagged: Pacemakers in the tech sector,’ held in Lekki, Lagos. Specifically, CEO/co-Founder, Max Africa, Adetayo Bamiduro, urged the government to continue to provide an enabling environment to enable young innovators and entrepreneurs to realise their dreams.
Bamiduro also stressed the need for younger generations to get access to funding, mentorship and all that is required for them to realise their dreams and contribute effectively towards national and economic growth. He said: “We can’t completely stop brain drain in the country but we can create a lot more opportunities for people to learn skills. Nigeria is blessed with over 200 million people and a lot of them are young people, so creating opportunities for the tens of millions of young people to learn digital skills, to build on their skill set and capabilities is a necessity.
The best solution really is to empower and train a lot more young people so that even if some of them leave, we have enough that are still here to help build the country.” On his part, CEO, Autocheck Africa, Etop Ikpe, said given that technology talents are getting recognised internationally, the issue of brain drain is not necessarily a bad thing. He noted that it provides an opportunity to address youth unemployment, adding that if there is a demand where Nigeria tech talents are being recognised internationally, it means more people should be encouraged to come into the sector.
“It means there is a big gap and huge opportunity for employment, both international and locally, so what we need to do is see how we can get more people to typically get into the sector and learn so that they have better opportunities.”
CEO, HerVest, Solape Akinpelu called for a stronger system and more focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in the country’s education system. “I am a strong believer in the Nigerian system because if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be here right now. So, what I see is that we don’t have so much control over brain drain. The West are actively harvesting our people and even if they didn’t, lots of our people are in Nigeria working for them and they are earning in dollars. So I believe we can create stronger systems. Look at the educational system, how much are we teaching the students aside from the fundamentals? How much are we doing in STEM and creating stronger infrastructure? Everybody wants constant electricity, people want water, and all the basic amenities just so that it is convenient for people to actually stay back and not constantly look out.”
Founder/Executive Vice Chairman, Signal Alliance, Collins Onuegbu stated that the fact that international bodies are engaging Nigerians should be seen in a perspective of opportunity. “Initially there might be temporary displacement for some companies, but overall it is good that international communities are employing Nigerians. So, I don’t think we should worry about it, it is a very great opportunity from here.” He urged the government to keep improving on the quality of education, saying graduates should be employable.