ASHOKA: YOUTH INNOVATION, KEY TO REDUCING UNEMPLOYMENT IN AFRICA

The future forward ecosystem Nigeria organised by Ashoka in partnership with MasterCard foundation proved to be a very productive hub for the sharing, conversing and igniting of positive ideas that would and is already putting a halt to the menace of unemployment in Nigeria. The event which took place at the heart of Lagos on 2nd July 2016 at NECCA Hall, CMD road agidinbi, Ikeja Lagos hosted all the newly inducted Ashoka change makers from all across Nigeria.

According to the convener, the elegant Tope Olatilewa Egbetokun, the CEO of business without boundary, “The Ashoka change makers are social innovators and entrepreneurs who are working vigorously to reduce unemployment at all sector of industry. Their aim is to change the landscape of policies, leadership, governance and youth engagement in creating a better Nigeria project and Africa enterprise.”

During a panel discussion with the theme Holistic and sustainable project for the Nigerian youth: Opportunities, Solutions and Tools, Olufemi Omotayo who is the CEO of Entreprenews, noted that youths who are driven by money and not passion will soon fizzle out, advising that youths should remain consistent at what they do and the rewards would come knocking at their door in no time.

The enigmatic Rasak Adekoya, a progressive visually impaired and CEO 360Connect noted that Life doesn’t give you anything but you have to negotiate and go for it, adding that people are more likely to listen to you based on your demonstrated ability over your professed ability. This stand was upheld by the vibrant Belema Ogbuige, Executive Director, Centre for Information and Development when she observed that this life is an exchange of value whereby to receive, you have to be ready to give. Ben Obi’s thought as a techpreneur and Stella Ozemoya’s advice being a women advocate, who were members of the panel, was quite profound as they shared how they’ve been contributing to the social innovation space in Nigeria.

The event reached its tipping point when African Farmer Mogaji, CEO of X-ray Farms and Ashoka Fellow recounted his remarkable and inspirational ordeal in the agricultural sector and the twist and turns that sailed him to success. He noted that there was a time in his life when he felt like committing suicide because of the debt incurred in his business but he saw them as the stepping stones to success. The man who changed his name to African Farmer in 2011 further advised youths that to do anything meaningful in life you have to adopt three approaches- Act, Collaborate and Share Knowledge. The industry requires leveraging and working alone is never a good option.

Future Forward course, an initiative by Ashoka in partnership with MasterCard foundation, is targeted to recognise, educate, equip and empower young individuals in Africa who have exhibited leadership qualities and are passionately providing sustainable
solutions to the issue of unemployment and human incompetence in Africa.

See photos from the event below:

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Covered By James Onyinyechi Divine
Twitter & IG: @Tushbee1

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