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YOUNG WO(MAN), GET OF THE QUEUE, CARVE YOUR PATH

Please share with young people in and around Enugu

by Patrick O. Okigbo III
Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019
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If you are a young person living in and around Enugu (Nigeria), permit me to tell you why Friday, February 01, 2019 should be a very important day on your calendar. First, let me start with some bad news and then we will get on to the good news.

The bad news. Nigeria needs to create 11 million jobs every year. Going by current projections, the near-future is very bleak. So if you are young and unemployed in Nigeria, you are in deep trouble. Standing on that job queue could be like playing Bet9ja. You have all heard of a few people who have won prizes but there are many others who have simply wasted their money (in this case, time).

The good news. You can get off that job queue, take your destiny in your hands, and create your own future. That future, as I see it, lies in the creative industries because of the low barriers to entry and the huge local and global market available to you. The creative industry comprises of film, music, performing arts, fashion, software, TV and radio, advertising, art, etc.

Take film, for instance. From its humble beginnings in 1992 (with the release of the “Living in Bondage”), Nollywood has become the second biggest employer in Nigeria. According to a 2016 report* by International Monetary Fund, Nollywood is valued at about $7.2 billion and generates about $0.59 billion annually. You probably have already heard that Genevieve Nnaji sold “Lionheart” to Netflix for a yet-unconfirmed amount that is running in the millions of dollars. You stand a better chance creating something for Nollywood than getting a job in Nigeria. So the mantra should be don’t just watch "Africa Magic", create your magic.

The story is the same in music, fashion, design, software, etc. You already know, probably more than I do, about the many Nigerian artistes and comedians dominating the entertainment industry in Africa and expanding to Europe and America. Also, you may have noticed that many Nigerians (such as myself) have shed their corporate suits for locally designed and produced kaftans and dresses. You ma have noticed the emergence of the first set of millionaire make-up artists. Tech, however, is a different ballgame. Just this week, Andela announced that it secured a $100 million Series D investment for its platform. One of the founders of Andela, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, is 27 years old. Let that sink in for a minute.

If you are a young person living in and around Enugu, you should be paying attention to what is going on in the tech space in that city. Please note that technology is not … not ... about mathematics. You don’t need to be a nerd to join the tech hustle. You don’t need to have a computer science degree nor know how to write one line of code. In fact, your non-technical experience may even be an added advantage as you will bring a fresh perspective to the business. The more creative you are, the better. There are many non-technical roles for content developers, design, finance, accounting, sales, logistics, branding, marketing, public relations, etc. Can you think? Do you have passion? Get in the tech-hustle.

If you are a young person living in and around Enugu, you are already advantaged because the city is becoming a major tech capital in Nigeria. There are many initiatives that have popped up in “042”: from Genesys Tech Hub (led by Kings Eze and Nnamdi "Namo" Anika), to StartUp South (run by Uche Aniche and his crew), to the many tech initiatives Chukwuemeka "CFA" Agbata is involved in. Do yourself a favour. Track these people down and just be in their orbit. These guys might hate me for calling them out like this but to whom much is given, much is expected. Somebody has to help our young lads get on the success ladder.

If you are a young person living in and around Enugu, here is something you can do this week. Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu will be in Enugu on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 01, 2019 to speak on the topic, “ONYE KWE, CHI YA EKWE: NDIGBO IN THE DIGITAL ECONOMY”. Chinenye is one of Nigeria’s leading thinkers and doers in the tech space. Over 20 years ago, he co-founded InfoGraphics Nigeria Limited which was a pioneer multimedia design firm and exponent of cross-platform, multi-channel corporate communications and strategic implementation. He was later the Head of Microsoft for English-speaking West Africa and is currently a Partner at iX Consult, a management consulting and enterprise development company focused on Africa's tech startup space. iX Consult works with entrepreneurs to provide high-quality consulting from business modelling to fundraising.

If you are a young person living in and around Enugu, you should clear your calendar and plan to be at Enugu Sports Club to not just draw from Chinenye’s intellect and what he has to say about the tech industry but also to meet with other professionals who will be in the room. Namo has promised to attend with a crew from Genesys. We are working to bring many of the other tech guys to attend. You want to be there to meet the guys.

If you are a young person living in and around Enugu, you probably went to church today (Sunday) and you probably prayed for success. God will probably answer that prayer especially if you support your faith with good work (James 2:14-26). The work should start by taking your destiny in your hands. You can do it. You can create your own path. You can be an employer of labour instead of an employee. You can start by making a date with Friday, after all, faith without work is dead.

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Reference
* Omanufeme, S. (2016). Runaway Success: Nigeria’s Film Industry is Taking Off. Finance & Development, “Africa Growth’s Ups and Downs” June 2016. Available at: https://www.imf.org/exter…/…/ft/fandd/2016/06/pdf/fd0616.pdf

NKATA UMU IBE
(An Initiative of the Centre For Memories)

Topic:
“Onye Kwe, Chi Ya Ekwe: Ndigbo in the Digital Economy”

Speaker:
Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu
Partner, iX Consult
(Former General Manager, MICROSOFT West Africa)

Date:
Friday, February 01, 2019

Agenda:
5:00 – 6:00pm (60 mins):
Cocktails

6:00 – 6:05pm (5 mins):
Protocols by Patrick O. Okigbo III, Centre For Memories

6:05 – 6:10pm (5 mins):
Welcome by Ben Etiaba, Chairman, Enugu Sports Club

6:10 – 6:15pm (5 mins):
About CFM/ Nkata Umu Ibe and Introduction of the Speaker by Nnanna UdeNnanna Ude, Convener, Nkata Umu Ibe

6:15 – 6:40pm (25 mins):
“Onye Kwe, Chi Ya Ekwe: Ndigbo in the Digital Economy” by Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu

6:40 – 7:00pm (15 mins):
Moderated Discussion

7:00 – 7:55pm (55 mins):
Audience participation

7:55 – 8:00pm (5 mins):
Vote of Thanks by Prof. Rina Okonkwo, CFM Resident Historian

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