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Strategies for Creating Jobs, Building Skills and Mobilizing the Youths using Information Technology in Africa

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Strategies for Creating Jobs, Building Skills and Mobilizing the Youths using Information Technology in Africa

Strategies for Creating Jobs, Building Skills and Mobilizing the Youths using Information Technology in Africa

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  • 1. Emeka Okoye Strategies for Creating Jobs, Building Skills and Mobilizing the Youths using Information Technology in Africa A Presentation to the Minister of Federal Ministry of Youth, Nigeria, during their 2011 Annual Strategy Retreat. August 5, 2011
  • 2. Page | 2 Table of Contents Introduction........................................................................................3 The Knowledge Economy....................................................................3 Situation Analysis and Challenges.......................................................3 The Effects of ICT.................................................................................4 Why Empower the Youths...................................................................4 Strategies.............................................................................................5 Conclusion...........................................................................................7 About Emeka Okoye............................................................................7 References...........................................................................................8
  • 3. Page | 3 Introduction ICT has disrupted the way we do business and interact socially and have created a platform over which businesses, governments and citizens can create new economic and social opportunities for the development of a nation. ICT connects otherwise separate markets, link people with each other, and allow global coordination of economic activities—creating jobs, increasing incomes, facilitating trade, and reducing costs associated with distance and time. ICTs are now the bedrock for national survival and development in a rapidly changing global environment. Empowering youths with the latest ICT solutions has become one of the tenets of developing a future healthy base world over. ICT has become vital, the key to boost the economy as it encourages SMEs to grow through e-commerce based solutions. The Knowledge Economy The Knowledge economy is the use of knowledge technologies to produce economic benefits as well as job creation. In the knowledge world, we are concerned with the movements of insights (information), experiences (knowledge, observation), images and ideas rather than mass. The most important innovations are those that create possibilities that could not have previously been imagined, and with them create the industries of the future and millions of new jobs. Situation Analysis and Challenges Statistics (Nigeria)  Population – 154m  Population (urbanized) – 67m  Population under 18 – 75m  Population under 5 – 25m  School attendance – 61%  Youth Literacy (15-24) – 78%  Literacy overall – 78% (m) 65% (f)  Secondary school enrolment – 21m  Secondary School leavers – 3m
  • 4. Page | 4  JAMB enrolment – 1.4m  University Admission – 200,000 Nigeria is faced with looming social challenges, like any other developing nation. The accelerated influence of the global community is real and here. The country has a young and energetic population which is hungry for opportunities. Nigeria has over the past decade experienced a change in behavior and values, and the populace wants opportunities sooner rather than later. This is where I believe all technology offerings will become paramount. The Effects of ICT Demand of ICT products and services are generating job opportunities in Nigeria. The creation of the Software, Mobile Phones, Micro-Electronic, Computer has brought about new employment opportunities, which employ a substantial number of people It is estimated that every 10 % increase in the market penetration of mobile phones boosts GDP growth by 6 percentage points. Another estimate suggests that for every 10 % increase in broadband Internet service penetration in a particular area, employment would increase 2 to 3 percentage points per year. Why Empower the Youths They are the future of Nigeria. They hunger for knowledge and want to be connected to the rest of the world. They are very enthusiastic about new technologies and quick to learn new skills. Once we empowered the youths, they will create wealth for themselves and the nation thereby increasing the nation’s global competitiveness. Psychologically they will have self confidence, and self esteem. They will be motivated, interested and enthusiastic. They will feel more respected. They will gain more confidence and will be able to do things and express themselves in a better way. Socially, we expect new knowledge and information, new skills, abilities and competence. There is a huge digital divide to be bridged. Opportunities are far and wide for young people and ICT provides a clear path for the country to satisfy the hunger of the majority.
  • 5. Page | 5 Finally, some of the richest people in the world made their wealth as youths through ICT. Strategies Federal Ministry of Youth Development can recognise the significant role ICT can play to accelerate economic growth, meaningfully impact job creation and transform Nigeria into one of the most competitive developing countries through a strong partnership between government and the private sector. I have defined a number of key intervention areas including specific targets as follows: o Attitude. Ignoring the potential roles of ICT poses serious risks to development effectiveness. o Stop seeing ICT as a sector or an industry. o Change mode from ‘Computerisation’ to ‘Automation’. o Awareness and High Level Commitment to take ICT as a priority and funds allocated o Provision of Mentorship and support system for the youths o Human Capital Development to ensure the ICT skills requirements of the economy and enable Nigerians to effectively participate in the digital and knowledge economy. o Make the use of ICT compulsory at all levels of educational institutions o Critical Mass of youths trained in ICTs needs to be attained. Build the critical mass of ICT personnel preparatory to making Nigeria a key player in the global information society. We suffer from shortage of ICT personnel. o Promotion of ICTs for both formal and informal education o Mainstreaming of ICTs in the education sector and reforming of the education system to produce job creators and not job seekers. Emphasis on entrepreneurship so that graduates can create jobs, be innovative or creative rather than looking up to government for jobs. o Work with universities in an effort to contribute to the ICT skills base and increase access to, and uptake of, and consumption of ICT. o Working with the NYSC scheme as a platform to empower graduates with missing ICT schools, an opportunity to have ICT bootcamp. o Work with the ICT Ministry to connect ICT business with youths who have interest in ICT services. o Working with NGOs running ICT4D programs to scale their work across Nigeria in order to reach more young people. o Deliberately seeking Nigerian youth ked ICT and ICT4D projects for support and showcase o Availability of Investment Capital (both public and private) to fund the large scale infrastructure required to achieve the targeted access and penetration
  • 6. Page | 6 levels, the funding and promotion of small, medium and micro enterprises and the funding of innovation. o Encourage Financing Agencies to provide access to funds to support young people’s ideas and encourage ICT entrepreneurship o Promotion of Local Content. Local digital content needs to be increased considering the opportunity for application development, the multi-media sector, knowledge creation and the digitisation of government. o Promotion of local software (Local Content) o Promotion of Research and Development by the youth on technologies in Nigeria o Providing opportunity for youth in research and development o Promotion of Research and Development in the ICT sector o Universal Access Provision is key to making ICT services available in the rural areas, undeserved areas and commercial unviable areas of Nigeria o Free or almost free broadband. High cost of broadband is a major deterrent to ICT penetration and a hindrance to job creation via ICT. Free access can enhance ICT consumption. o e-Agriculture/Mobile Agriculture. The value chain created through this has huge potential to generate jobs. The e-Agriculture platforms provide information sharing capabilities between researches, assistants, content providers and farmers. It empowers farmers with relevant information to boost profitability and productivity. o Policy Issues such as mainstreaming of National ICT Policies into sector plans for implementation, waiving of taxes on ICT Products and providing of incentives to the ICT Industry o Promotion of ICT Parks and Incubators to provide job opportunities for the youths o To ensure that the Private Sector including the expanding Telecom Market in Nigeria contributes to Research and Development o Promotion of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) to provide better job opportunities for the youth. This market is huge. A number of recent studies undertaken by management consulting firms Deloitte & Touche (June 2003) and A.T. Kearney (May 2003) point to the growing practice of many US companies, particularly financial institutions, outsourcing their business processes to lower cost developing countries. Nigeria has the potential to participate actively and lots of job can be generated. Egypt has a 10,000 seat call center that employs 30,000 people and South Africa employs 40,000 people. Why Nigeria? o Opportunity to achieve significant cost savings while maintaining quality o Large pool of English speaking, educated work force o Well developed telecommunication infrastructure and a liberalised sector BPO - Outbound Telemarketing Categories o inbound customer service support (technical help desk/web chat/email response)
  • 7. Page | 7 o collections o Outbound telemarketing Conclusion This initiative is a win three times over and will catalyze private sector investment, contribute to economic growth, make revenue available to the Federal Government, help to create hundreds of thousands of jobs and creates prosperity This will also build a stronger foundation for future prosperity and growth. About Emeka Okoye Emeka Okoye is the CEO of Vikantti Nigeria Limited, a software development company, has over 17 years of progressive experience in Web, Semantic, Enterprise & Mobile Software development. Graduated as a Geologist in 1990 but passionate about software engineering, he built Nigeria’s first banking website and Internet Banking app (IBTC, 1996), co-founded one of Nigeria’s earliest startup and built the biggest Nigerian Portal (NgEx.com, 1997), was the Project Manager/Lead Architect of Nigeria’s first E-commerce Project in 2000 (FSB Bank, Valucard, UPS & Xerox). He started Vikantti Software in 2006 as a consulting firm offering specialized software development, technology strategy for the financial sector and Government, enterprise mobile app development, mobile strategy, Semantic Web and Open Data development and consulting and enterprise software development. Some other milestones  Listed among the 20 most influential technology people in Africa by IT News South Africa in 2013  Named among the Influential people in technology in Nigeria and Africa by the top Nigerian technology blog, Techloy (2010, 2011, 2012).  Listed among the World’s 20 most influential people in Mobile Money, Mobile Banking, Mobile Commerce and Mobile Payments by Obopay in 2012  Built the first Mobile App for Election reporting and violence monitoring in Nigeria (2011), Liberia (2011) and Ghana(2012)  Worked under the winner of the 2003 InfoWorld Magazine Innovator of the year, Mr. Kingsley Idehen (OpenLink Software) Emeka can be followed on twitter via @EmekaOkoye and can be reached on email via emeka.okoye@gmail.com
  • 8. Page | 8 References 1. Asheeta Bhavnani, Rowena Won-Wai Chiu, et al, The role of mobile phones in sustainable rural poverty reduction, World Bank Global ICT Department, June 15, 2008 2. Robert Crandall, William Lehr and Robert Litan, The Effects of Broadband Deployment on Output and Employment, Benton Foundation, June 2007