The Lagos State Economic Summit – EHINGBETI 2021 have come and gone, however, not without birthing at least 11 new resolutions.
Just a few days to the event, Nigeria’s leading technology platform, Techuncode, in partnership with the State Government organized a preparatory Hub activation which was hosted across eight selected tech and innovative hubs.
Among the hosts for the eight-series preparatory sessions is Ingressive for Good (I4G) who helped to mobilize seasoned guest speakers as well as interested participants.
While the session doubled as a collaborative platform to engage arising challenges in the society, it also helped greatly in forming part of the new resolutions that will now be addressed by the State Government ahead of the next summit.
In the forgoing part of this post, we will be sharing a highlight of everything that went down at the session hosted by I4G.
Themed – Unleashing Disruptive Innovation For Development, this particular session featured four guest speakers.
Hosted by the community’s co-founder, Sean Burrowes, the session featured notable and seasoned speakers including CEO, Enye – Uche Nnandi; Community Partnership Manager, Datacamp – Nathaniel Taylor-Leach; Community Manager, HNG – Seyi Onifade; and Chief of Staff, Bamboo – Ife Johnson.
Overview of the topic
“Today the relationship between the government and the tech community is broken and steps need to be taken to mend it.”
“If we are going to have a relationship at all, the only way it is possible is not from the position of a helpless citizen, but from that of a community united around creating our own value,” I4G co-founder, Sean Burrowes stated while making reference to the tech community in general.
To unleash disruptive innovation in Lagos State requires a lot of collaboration from all stakeholders i.e the government, citizens, investors, and the tech ecosystem as a whole.
Beyond collaborative support from stakeholders, other factors like technology penetration rate, Education, employment rate, and access to affordable tech among others must also be studied.
However, while the State is mostly faced with different challenges in this regard, this discussion suggests possible ways through which disruptive innovations can be unleashed especially amongst the youth in the State.
Discussion and resolutions
Firstly, it is important to address the ‘why-factor’ here; what are those things that warrant the need to unleash disruptive innovation for development in Lagos State.
As discussed during the session, some why-factors that can easily influence disruptive innovation includes the following;
- Africa holds more mobile users than the US and UK compiled, accounting for approximately 650 million devices in total. On the average, Nigeria also boasts of a relatively high mobile penetration – something that could serve as a catalyst for unleashing disruptive innovation.
- Nigeria is also located in one of the top 3 regions, Africa to be precise, with the fastest growing economies by GDP.
- 30% African youth unemployment rate; a low 26% of Nigerian college applicants are accepted into school; while only 6% African youth enrolled in higher education.
- Lastly, Tech is expensive! The right tools (which are mostly expensive ) are required to unleash disruptive innovations, however, Nigeria’s economy is not favorable in this regard.
Other notable challenges or perhaps obstacles that could hinder the possibility of unleashing disruptive innovation in Lagos as discussed in the session are divided into three main categories:
According to a research journal, However, in the Nigerian Context, despite her vision of becoming a top 20 economy by the year 2020, the country’s infrastructural facilities have been in a decay condition.
As such, there is need for infrastructural development in order to attain her vision and meet some of the objectives of the millennium development goals of reducing poverty.
Most of the current infrastructural facilities in Nigeria were developed during the second national development plan between (1970- 1974).
A relevant example of the obstacle to communication is the CBN’s recent ban on the trade of Cryptocurrency.
Nigeria represents a huge cryptocurrency market and the Fintech industry was blindsided by this development. Couldn’t this have been handled differently?
Access to resources
The government does have programs that have the potential to be quite effective, however; these resources do not have high visibility within the various tech communities.
Without awareness, how can funding and other resources find their way to areas capable of the highest impact?
How can these challenges or obstacles be solved?
To solve these challenges, all stakeholders involved must be willing to play their own role efficiently.
For instance, tech communities can implement some of the following resolutions, although streamlined to I4G;
- Microscholarship: tech hubs can offer participants microscholarship in the form of grants for research or tuition fees. I4G for instance is currently disbursing $100K in microscholarship to 20 participants.
- Free Training: Free tech-based training for youths should be considered across tech and innovative communities.
- Job Placement: Tech communities should place youths in their network in tech jobs. Similarly, they should be provided with the neccessary tools i.e laptops, smartphones, as well as provide them with sufficient data.
- Tech community should raise funds on behalf of the youth, especially in funding innovative and distruptive ideas or solutions.
On the other hand, the government also have a bigger role to play, and in this case, there are two major approach to which the subject of discussion can be achieved;
Leveraging on NYSC
- NYSC programs should focus on how students can get access to specialized tech internships and track the outcomes
- Government committees deployed to ensure that specific skills are selected and addressed in the program based on Lagos technical skills gaps
- Programs like Ready Set Work need to be redeployed or reimagined to ensure NYSC goals are achieved alongside the development of the talent
- Ensure to incorporate NYSC into plans to take advantage of the systems access to reach young tech talent
Cordinate with employers and recruiters
- Create a central database of assessed technical talent
- Develop a simplified process that allows corporates, SME’s, and entrepreneurs to access the talent they need
- Leverage existing talent development companies/softwares to track talent progress