Consider Abdul. Born to low-income parents in a small town in North Central Nigeria, Abdul has just graduated secondary school with very few prospects for his future. Though a very intelligent boy, Abdul has not been able to get admission into university because his parents want him to study medicine and he barely passed his science subjects. Abdul’s main interest is photography – an interest sparked by his uncle who brings his beautiful cameras with him when he comes from Lagos to visit Abdul’s parents.After another argument about his future, Abdul’s uncle asks his parents to send him to Lagos.
In Lagos, Abdul’s uncle helps him enroll in digital photography classes and lets him use his cameras to take photos, which Abdul is able to sell on Shutterstock and other online stock photography sites. Abdul also learns to drive and registers his uncle’s car with Uber and other ride-sharing apps. Before long, Abdul is making enough money to send a small amount to his parents every month and enroll himself at Yaba College of Technology to study photography, even while continuing to take digital photography courses online.
Abdul’s story is not unique. Millions of young people around the world, typically referred to as “Millennials”, are reinventing the way we see life and work in the twenty-first century and technology is allowing them to do so. In many companies today, as in many households, members of older generations wonder loudly: “what is wrong with these lazy Millennials who don’t want to work hard like we do?” But perhaps this is the wrong question.
Instead of wondering what’s wrong, perhaps we should look at how to stimulate them to create those engines of growth that many of them are plugging into to generate wealth. Shouldn’t we be asking ourselves how to get our young ones to become active drivers of the global digital economy by creating the next Shutterstock, Uber, Airbnb, Facebook and Amazon?
The Global Industry Vision (GIV) 2025 report revealed that the number of personal smart devices will reach 40 billion and the total number of connections around the world will reach 100 billion by 2025, creating a digital economy worthof $23 trillion! We can either sit back and watch this pass us by or we can start training our young people to fully participate in this as wealth creators instead of as consumers. At Junior Achievement Nigeria (JAN), we have chosen the former, and that is why we are participating in the Google Impact Challenge.
JAN is part of Junior Achievement Worldwide, the world’s largest and fastest-growing economic education non-profit dedicated to empowering young people to own their future. Since 1999, JAN has empowered over 800,000 young people in primary and secondary schools across Nigeria, through our financial literacy and entrepreneurship programs, and some of our alumni are now highly successful and socially responsible entrepreneurs.
Not only do we have successful alumni in management positions at all major corporations operating in Nigeria, our alumni also serve as CEOs and Executive Directors of the most dynamic non-profit organizations in Nigeria including FATE Foundation, Africa Initiative for Governance, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, LEAP Africa, The Education Partnership Center and many other organizations we are proud to call partners in the development of Nigerian youth.
As we encountered reports about the future and the relevance of Nigerian youth, we decided that teaching financial literacy and entrepreneurship was no longer enough to prepare our youth for the future;we had to begin to teach digital entrepreneurship as well! With unemployment levels rising to almost 20% in Nigeria, we were clear on the need to infuse our award-winning entrepreneurship program for senior secondary school students, the Company Program, with digital skills training so as to develop digital entrepreneurs who are fully equipped lift Nigeria to its highest potential. Our goal is to develop 10,000 young digital entrepreneurs who will put Nigeria firmly among the nations benefiting from that $23 trillion digital economy in 2025!
So this week, as we mark Global Entrepreneurship Week, I hope you will partner with us to make this dream a reality by voting for JAN in the first ever Google Impact Challenge in Nigeria! If we get the highest number of votes, Google will provide a whopping $250,000 as well as training and tools to support JAN in achieving our goals to develop 10,000 digital entrepreneurs in Nigeria by 2025! Join us by voting now!
Happy Global Entrepreneurship Week!
Credit: Junior Achievement Nigeria
Kudoti, South African Recycling Platform recognised as one of the global winners of the Nestlé’s 2021 Creating Shared Value Prize
Kudoti, South African recycling company, was announced in the top five winners of Nestlé 2021 Creating Shared Value (CSV) Prize, for their innovative recycling impact through technology.
The CSV Prize has been running for over 10 years and has identified multiple initiatives for some of today’s most critical environmental and social issues around the world. This year’s competition, conducted in partnership with the non-profit organization, Ashoka, was entitled ‘How do we create a waste-free future?’, It aimed to identify and award innovative solutions with a system-change approach and a strong growth potential, or a replicable model for other social, cultural or geographical settings.
Kudoti (meaning trash in Zulu) is changing business perspectives of waste into recovered materials through supply chain solutions. The company’s digital approach helps track recyclable waste in real-time and matching it to demand. The use of technology improves market conditions for waste materials, which drives up recycling behaviour.
Matthieu de Gaudemar, one of the founders of Johannesburg-based Kudoti, expressed gratitude to Nestlé and Ashoka for this CSV initiative. “Businesses and individuals have a concept of waste as waste, when we should have a concept of waste as a resource. With new business models, we can change the way that waste is viewed.”
De Gaudemar adds that their platform’s success was collective team effort. “It truly takes everyone to address systemic environmental issues. Through this financial investment and technical resources, we will amplify our impact by scaling up our solution in South Africa.”
“When people speak of the future, a world of hover crafts or holograSaint-Francis Tohlangms may come to mind. But at Nestlé, we are seeking a more environmentally futuristic landscape. Through these Awards, we are on a mission to identify and empower market disruptors in the hope of accelerating a waste-free future”, says Saint-Francis Tohlang, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Director at Nestlé East and Southern Africa Region (ESAR).
As one of the winners, Kudoti will receive a cash prize of $40 000 and will benefit from Ashoka’s online resources and workshops to explore potential collaboration with Nestlé and a mentoring programme.
“Innovations such as Kudoti not only help reduce waste but also drive consumer behaviour change which is key to achieving a waste free future and takes us closer to a circular economy”, concluded Tohlang.
By Weber Shandwick
Doing Good Work in Africa Marks Its First Anniversary of Supporting Students and Impacting Future Growth in Africa
Doing Good Work in Africa (DOWA), a non-profit initiative designed to connect students in the United States to African-based entities focused on providing scalable solutions to commonplace challenges, celebrated its first anniversary in April. Launched during the COVID-19 pandemic, friends Ola Erogbogbo and Emiola Abass, co-founded a program that generated 400 applications and placed ten students at three partner companies within two months. In just one year, DOWA placed 27 students and conducted seven educational webinars with over 400 attendees from over 17 countries.
“DOWA seeks to provide a path to ‘brain gain’ by attracting US students (African and non-African) to the continent through internships. The premise is that the solution to Africa’s problems must come from within, supported by human and capital investments across the globe.” said Erogbogbo.
DOWA connects students with internship opportunities allowing them to work on socio-economic projects and experience the African culture and corporate environment. Students can take advantage of this unique experience through grants and scholarships funded by some universities. Matching the students with partner companies is accomplished through a rigorous application process, provided at no cost to the students. DOWA’s partner companies and organizations address challenges in healthcare, education, agriculture and champion growth initiatives in technology, artificial intelligence, and power generation in Africa.
“We are proud of our partnership with DOWA – we had two interns work on geospatial AI-powered education technology in low resourced environments. These engaged students’ contributions will help further our goal to raise one million AI talents” said Bayo Adekanmbi, Founder at Data Science Nigeria.
Liam Casey, a Venture Capital Fellow at Funema, said, “My experience has helped narrow down career goals and interests in impact investment and venture capital for emerging markets.”
DOWA is intentional in partnering with organizations that have a shared mission to work on initiatives that further the advancement of Africa. Erogbogbo further said, “DOWA believes that the challenges we face on the continent present opportunities, and thus, connecting students to companies working to address these challenges can result in more effective solutions.”
DOWA was launched with the help of founding supporters that include Scholars in Our Society and Africa (SOSA) at Cornell University and Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM). With over 300% participation growth and thanks to its growing network of partner companies, DOWA for the 2021/2022 internship cycles is projected to provide internship opportunities to 70 students from over 20 schools, including five Ivy League colleges.
GSMA Report Reveals The Gender Gap In Mobile Internet Use Is Shrinking, Despite The COVID-19 Pandemic
GSMA Report: An estimated 112 million more women started using mobile internet last year across low- and middle-income countries, despite the onset of COVID-19, according to the fourth annual GSMA Mobile Gender Gap Report published today.
Nevertheless, 234 million fewer women than men access mobile internet. Moreover, the underlying gender gap in mobile ownership persists and is proving difficult to close.
Affordability, lack of literacy and digital skills, and lower awareness of mobile internet are critical and common barriers for women. Structural inequalities in society and discriminative social norms also remain a challenge. Even when women have the same levels of education, income, literacy, and employment as men, they are still less likely to own a mobile phone or use mobile internet.
The report further revealed that a record number of women in South Asia now use mobile internet services, helping shrink the gender gap to 15% from 19% last year in low- and middle-income countries.
The gains in South Asia, which had the most significant gender gap in 2019 with women 50% less likely than men to use mobile internet, masked the stagnation in other regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa. Women in both regions now face a similar gender gap in mobile internet use – 37% in Sub-Saharan Africa and 36% in South Asia.
Women were more likely than men to access the internet exclusively via mobile in almost all markets surveyed. In Kenya, for example, 63% of male internet users said they only used the internet via a mobile device compared to 79% of females. This reliance by women on mobile demonstrates the disproportionate benefit of increasing their access.
“If women are to become equal citizens in a more digital, post-COVID world, closing the mobile gender gap has never been more critical,” said Mats Granryd, Director General, of the GSMA. “I urge policymakers, the private sector and the international community to take note of the important findings laid out in the Mobile Gender Gap Report because only concerted action and collaboration will enable women and their families to reap the full benefits of connectivity.”
The GSMA introduced the Connected Women Commitment Initiative in 2016 to catalyse action to close the mobile gender gap. Mobile operators continued to make commitments during 2020, with 40 mobile operators across Africa, Asia and Latin America making formal commitments to accelerate digital and financial inclusion for women since 2016. These operators have already reached more than 40 million additional women with mobile internet or mobile money services.
The GSMA’s Mobile Gender Gap Report 2021 is available at: https://www.gsma.com/r/gender-gap/
Further information on the Connected Women Commitment Initiative can be found at: https://www.gsma.com/mobilefordevelopment/connected-women/the-commitment/