By Elvis Eromosele
Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, boasts a youthful population. According to the National Population Commission, about 64 per cent of Nigeria’s population is below the age of 25. This presents an opportunity for the country to harness the energy and creativity of its youth towards building a digital and innovative future.
The world is experiencing a rapid digitalisation shift, and Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind. To move the country forward, there is a need to focus on new technologies, social media, digital marketing, agriculture, fintech, and other emerging industries.
We must proactively explore ways for Nigeria to harness the power of its youth to achieve this goal.
Nigeria’s growing tech industry is already making waves on the global stage. The country’s tech ecosystem is home to several startups and tech hubs, including Andela, Flutterwave, and Paystack. To ensure that Nigeria continues to innovate, there is a need to invest in science and technology education at all levels. This investment will help equip the youth with the skills they need to develop cutting-edge technologies to solve the country’s challenges.
Social Media and Digital Marketing:
Social media has become a vital tool for businesses to connect with customers and grow their brands. Nigeria’s youth are digital natives who are familiar with the various social media platforms. This presents an opportunity for them to leverage social media and digital marketing skills to create new businesses and grow existing ones. The government can support this effort by providing training and funding opportunities for young entrepreneurs.
Agriculture is one of Nigeria’s most important sectors, accounting for a significant portion of the country’s GDP. However, the sector is still largely dominated by subsistence farming, which limits its potential. Nigeria’s youth can play a vital role in transforming the agriculture sector by leveraging technology to increase productivity and efficiency. The government can support this effort by providing funding opportunities for young farmers and investing in agricultural research and development.
Fintech is another industry that is rapidly growing in Nigeria. The country’s fintech startups are already disrupting the traditional finanacial sector by providing innovative solutions that are accessible to more Nigerians. Nigeria’s youth can contribute to this growth by developing new fintech products and services that can address the country’s unique financial challenges. The government can support this effort by providing a regulatory environment that is conducive to innovation and entrepreneurship.
The truth is that preparing Nigerian youths for the digital future requires a multi-faceted approach that encompasses both education and practical experience. Here are some suggestions to help prepare Nigerian youths for the digital future:
Encourage STEM Education: Nigerian youths should be encouraged to take courses in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). STEM courses provide the foundational skills needed to work in the digital field.
Increase Access to Technology: The Nigerian government and private sector can provide more access to technology in schools and communities, such as computer labs and internet connectivity. This can help young people gain hands-on experience with technology.
Promote Digital Literacy: Digital literacy is using and understanding digital technologies. Nigerian youths should be taught the basics of using computers, the internet, and other digital tools. This can be done through practical workshops, seminars, and online resources.
Provide Mentorship Programs: Mentorship programs can help Nigerian youths gain practical experience and guidance from experienced professionals in the digital field. These programs can provide opportunities for young people to learn from industry leaders and receive advice on succeeding in the digital sector.
Support Entrepreneurship: Nigerian youths should be encouraged to start their digital businesses. The government and private sector can provide resources and support for young entrepreneurs, such as access to funding, mentorship, and networking opportunities.
Collaborate with Industry Partners: Collaboration with industry partners can provide Nigerian youths with opportunities for internships, job shadowing, and other practical experiences. Industry partners can also guide the skills needed to succeed in the digital sector.
By following these strategies, Nigerian youths can be better prepared to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the digital future.
In conclusion, Nigeria’s youth represent a tremendous resource that can help to propel the country towards a digital and innovative future. However, this can only be achieved through concerted efforts by the government, private sector, and civil society to invest in the education and training of young people, provide funding opportunities, and create a regulatory environment that is conducive to innovation and entrepreneurship. By harnessing the power of its youth, Nigeria can become a leader in the digital economy and achieve sustainable economic growth.
Eromosele, a Corporate Communication professional and public affairs analyst lives in Lagos.