From job seekers to job creators – Global Alliance Africa is empowering youth innovators in Nigeria’s Ekiti State
Global Alliance Africa, a project delivered by Innovate UK KTN, recently partnered with The Convergence to host the largest youth gathering in Ekiti State on 25th November 2022.
Home to more than 200 million people, Nigeria boasts the largest population in Africa and is the seventh largest in the world after Brazil, Pakistan and Indonesia. By 2050, this number is set to almost double, reaching 377 million people – of which the youth will constitute roughly 70% (262 million) of the population. In preparation for this demographic shift, the Nigerian government is looking to youth innovation and entrepreneurship as key means of driving long-term job creation and economic growth. However, as the popular African proverb goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.”
With the young people of today playing a vital role in preparing Nigeria for its future population boom, Global Alliance Africa, a project delivered by Innovate UK KTN recently partnered with The Convergence to host the largest youth gathering in Ekiti State on 25th November 2022.
Packed with over 6,000 youths, the event explored the potential of innovation to unlock investment and job opportunities for the youth of Ekiti State. As part of the event, Global Alliance Africa launched a call for proposals and received over 40 responses from attendees, who shared their business ideas in return for the opportunity to enter a training programme to upskill their entrepreneurial expertise. Of the respondents, ten were later selected to receive pitch training support from the University of Lagos’s Enterprise Development Centre (EDC), ahead of their opportunity to pitch and showcase their unique ideas to a global platform of innovation players.
Welcoming attendees to the event, Global Alliance Africa’s Knowledge Transfer Manager for Nigeria, Joshua Adedeji, encouraged the youth to build connections, to explore where ideas could come together, and to take the lead in building the Nigeria of the future. He added that,
The challenge of unemployment is one that’s inevitable in Nigeria, and while that is true, we also have a pool of talented young people, who are tomorrow’s leaders. Ours is to empower them and assist them in seeing their potential, especially in entrepreneurship and innovation.
This event formed part of Global Alliance Africa’s Place-Based Innovation intervention, which is aimed at strengthening the capacity and resilience of local innovation ecosystems through first working to better understand regional challenges such as youth unemployment, capabilities and potential for innovation, and then supporting them with action-orientated local innovation networks in areas of high potential.
Concluding the event, Adedeji thanked The Convergence for their support and called on attendees to expand on their innovative ideas, to build a sustainable society and achieve a greater nation.
About Global Alliance Africa
The Global Alliance Africa project is a six-year project funded by UK Aid through Innovate UK (GCRF) and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
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Global Alliance Africa
This Innovate UK Global Alliance Africa 6-year (2019-2025) project funded by UK International Development aims to build new and stronger UK-African partnerships to maximise the creation of inclusive market access, funding and investment opportunities through innovation knowledge transfer between the UK, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.