ICT Clinic (Punch Newspaper)

#StartupSouth: Looking Beyond Oil [ICT Clinic]

The world is fast moving away from dependence on fossil fuels. I understand, this is a statement that some oil producing countries may not want to hear, or are not preparing for, but the signs are everywhere. More and more investments continue to go into cleaner and more efficient types of energy. My hope is that we truly understand what is ahead.
So, a few days ago, a young man in his early twenties made frantic efforts to see me and when he finally got the chance. He said, “CFA, I need to tell you my story. I am a young man from Bonny Island, in Rivers State, but I had to come all the way to Lagos on my own, to study at MSN Academy Ikeja GRA, Lagos because the opportunities for aspiring developers like me are simply non-existent back home in Bonny Island. So, can I ask you for a favour?” I told him to go on and he said, “Can you come and build a hub in Bonny Island?”
Although I was taken aback by his request, his courage excited me. The interesting aspect of being a media personality is that some people often assume that one is well-to-do; after all, you interview successful entrepreneurs and the like. Interesting stuff. Well, at this point, I responded, “I have never been to Bonny Island, but from my days as a student, I have always taught that Bonny is a wealthy kingdom, or so I was made to believe.” The question he could not answer is: Why would such a seemingly wealthy, natural resource rich zone not have individuals or organisations (particularly the major oil companies) willing to add value to the lives of young people by building them a hub?
I know, however, that the heartfelt plea from this young man is in tune with the daily tears of thousands of young people in various smaller cities and towns around the country.
A few weeks ago, I also met a young man from Warri, who is now moving to Lagos to join our team. He said, “I have tried my best CFA. There are simply not enough opportunities for young people, especially, in the technology space over there.”
This is not right and it ought not to be. We should have economic clusters across the country and this is why we must begin to look beyond oil, like Uche Aniche, founder of #StartupSouth, is attempting to do. Aniche has put together an annual event that — Finish Reading on the Punch