Emefiele to Nigerian youths: You can rule the world *Now is your best chance

By Editor on 01/12/2017

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Emefiele

I challenge you, the next time you feel an urge to complain about something; the next time you see a complaint bubbling up inside of you, don’t complain! Rather interrogate it. Analyse it. Ask yourself what is the real problem here? Is anyone doing anything to fix it? If they are, is it the best solution? Can you make it better? If yes, then go ahead and fix it.”

These were the words with which Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), sought to rouse Nigerian youths to take up the challenges presented by the current situation in Nigeria, and turn them into opportunities capable of propelling them as future world entrepreneurial icons and leaders in an idea-driven world.

Emefiele, who was the teacher at the 47th Convocation Ceremony of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), told the graduating students, their teachers and guests that history had proven that the bests in every thriving nation of the world, were achieved at their greatest lows.

Nigeria, would not be an exception, he argued, adding that all that was required was that the former students, who were being turned into the society, changed their orientation and interrogate their inner beings to exploit the untapped opportunities in Nigeria, rather than waiting for government.

An alumnus of the university, Emefiele, who entitled his lecture “A Mind-set for Succeeding in Today’s Nigeria, used himself as an example of the imperative of hard work to success, explaining that his rise to become the CBN governor, given his background in having uneducated parents who strove through hard times to pay his school fees, could only be possible because of his dedication to putting extra efforts.  

The CBN Governor also relied on local and foreign examples to underscore how vital deep thinking, interrogation of the inner mind and the exploitation of latent opportunities remained the backbone of success.  

Hear him: “A quick historical scan of other nations, especially advanced ones will reveal that notable strides in economic and political development occurred during periods of great challenges. In the United States for example, it is on record that 16 out of the 30 corporations that currently constitute the Dow Jones Industrial Average started during economic downturns. For example, Walt Disney Corporation was founded during the recession of 1923-24. Hewlett-Packard Corporation began in 1938 during the end of the Great Depression and Microsoft Corporation was conceived during the 1975 recession, and many other examples too many to mention here. The above historical experience, among many other reasons justify why the subject of entrepreneurship and job creation is very relevant and suitable at this auspicious occasion.  

“These entrepreneurs and innovators did not wait for their government to give them jobs; they created jobs for the economy. It may surprise you to note that some of the wealthiest persons on earth are entrepreneurs who began with modest start-ups. Among them are Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Steve Job and Steve Wozniak, Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Zara’s Amancio Ortega, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and Alibaba’s Jack Ma. These famous men started very small, some in their garages. They were creative. They saw opportunities where others saw obstacles. They changed their mind-set to realise their potentials. They didn’t wait for government to give them employments or contracts; instead they created jobs and created humongous wealth. Today they are celebrated not just as successful entrepreneurs, but as some of the richest men on earth.  

“I am sure that some cynics may say that these people succeeded because they are in a society where things work and where the government does a lot for their people. But you must note that having graduated from a federal university, the government has likewise supported you by subsidising your education when compared to the cost of private universities in Nigeria today. Your parents have also sufficiently played their roles and had so far made material decisions on your behalf. Some even decided the course which you eventually studied and are graduating from today. But alas! The time has come for you to stand up and be counted.  

“So, I will bring it home and tell us about people who are succeeding in Nigeria, where things are erroneously assumed not to work. I will not tell you about the Aliko Dangotes, Cosmas Madukas, or the Jim Ovias of this world. Instead, I will tell you about young people like you, most of whom are less than 30 years old, who are succeeding in Nigeria even in the midst of enormous challenges. I am talking about creative, innovative and hard-working entrepreneurs who are not blind to opportunities. 

“Many of you may know Jason Njoku, who today is a very wealthy young man. He is the founder of iRoko TV. When he launched his home-grown movie platform in December 2011, he saw the gap in video rental business and leveraged on existing technology. Today that effort has metamorphosed into a full-blown TV service. You may also know of Obinna Ekezie, who established Wakanow.com as a home-grown novelty and Nigeria’s first digital travels platform. Today, both iRoko TV and wakanow.com have been independently reached out to by Tiger Global, a multi-billion-dollar American investment firm. This is because of the value they have successfully created.  

“Let me mention also Iyinoluwa Aboyeji who is only 26 years old and has already founded two globally successful companies. First was Andela, a company that trains software developers and matches them with global companies. As you may know, that company, which is less than 4 years old, has already secured US$24 million in funding from Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook. Indeed, that company is one of the key reasons Mark Zuckerberg visited Nigeria. As if not satisfied, Mr. Aboyeji has gone on to establish Flutterwave, another company, which will basically make it easier for banks, businesses, and you to pay for things with your phone. He has already raised $10 million from U.S. investors. 

“Onyeka Akumah saw the gap that existed in agriculture finance between farmers who needed capital infusion and white-collar investors yearning for profitable returns. Consequently, he set up Farmcrowdy, a business which provides a guaranteed platform for people to invest their funds in agriculture. By guaranteeing the investment he has effectively de-risked the lending, making it attractive for investors and by the same token ensuring regular flow of loanable funds to participating farms. He took advantage of the existing internet and social media platform to connect demand and supply of funds to agriculture.  

“Now this story might be familiar to many of you here. Of the 1.5 million students that take JAMB every year, less than half pass. As a result, many are forced to wait a whole year before they can take it again, delaying school all the while. Kelechi Iroanya and Tola Odumosu saw this, not as a problem but as an opportunity. So, they created Prepterra, a digital solution to examination preparations that offers students online resources for various subjects with over 40,000 examination questions, answers, and explanations. Since their first year in the market, they have already recorded significant success with glowing accolades from users. 

 

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“Similarly, Godwin Benson, a recent graduate of Engineering from the University of Lagos, was at some point a private tutorial teacher in Lagos. He would move from place to place looking for parents who want good private teachers for children. But he soon discovered that many parents had difficulty finding good teachers while many good teachers had trouble finding the right clients. I am sure many parents in this audience can relate to that frustration. This common problem for many people led Mr. Benson to establish Tuteria. This company now helps millions of Nigerian households learn by connecting parents with subject matter experts in their neighbourhood. With just one click, you can find excellent and pre-vetted teachers for many subject areas, including cooking!

“A final example is OgaTaxi. Founded by Michael Nnamadim and Ameh Idoko, OgaTaxi is an indigenous mobile app that connects you with a taxi through the convenience of your phone. Uber, Easy Taxi, Taxify and the rest are all imports. OgaTaxi, as is obvious from the name, is 100 percent Made-in-Nigeria and boasts the most affordable rides! 

 

“There are also other ingenious and very successful start-ups in Nigeria like Jumia, Konga, Suregifts, Wifi.com.ng, ThriveAgric, and Paystack, to mention but a few. While these companies are all different in their own rights, one common characteristic that binds them all together is that they all identified common everyday problems in the society and saw an opportunity in fixing them thereby making a name for themselves. All these start-ups which I listed, and more, are making giant strides. They did not wait for government or their parents to find jobs for them. These are people that do not outsource their decision-making. They engage with the world around them, undergoing the difficult task of making choices and living with the consequences, no matter the colour. They looked at everyday problems and saw opportunities and developed their ideas.” 

Stressing his point, he added: “A young man was once standing on a fiercely cold and dangerously wintery evening waiting for a taxi in Paris. And he was very frustrated. But the same situation occurred right in his home city of San Francisco, where he had to wait for a long time for a taxi. Rather than continue to complaint endlessly about how difficult it was to get a taxi, he interrogated and analysed the problem.

“He found that no one was doing anything to fix this problem, and took advantage of this opportunity to develop a solution. And that is how Travis Kalanick was inspired to create Uber, a phone-enabled taxi service that allows you the comfort of ordering a taxi from anywhere. That company is now worth almost US$100 billion, and many of you in the audience have probably used it. In fact, I have used it several times around the world.”

Regardless, he said the Federal Government, through the CBN was also taking up the challenge of helping the Nigerian youth establish themselves as employers of labour rather than employment seekers, by providing them with seed funds.

His words: “As part of the efforts to address the challenges of unemployment, promote entrepreneurial spirits among Nigerian youths and enhance the spread of small and medium enterprises, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has designed and formulated a number of policies and programmes for direct real sector intervention. Our Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programme (YEDP), which we run in collaboration with banks and National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) was launched on March 15, 2016. This enabled current or recently discharged Corp members with entrepreneurial acumen to receive a concessionary financing of up to N5 million for innovative and job creating ventures. As you leave the university and proceed to the NYSC, I encourage you graduands to take advantage of this. 

“In addition, there is also the N220 billion CBN initiative to support micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs). This is aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship development and creating an environment that supports business success. It is our firm belief that our modest contributions are already yielding the expected dividends for all to see. These schemes are set up solely for your use, please take advantage of them.

“Yes, it is true that government is expected to provide the impetus and enabling environment, and that there are currently problems associated with the ease of entrepreneurs accessing credit. Let me state that the Federal Government, including the CBN, is encouraging the Deposit Money Banks and other development finance institutions to create awareness through which innovative entrepreneurs can access credit with a view to creating opportunities for job creation. At the moment, the CBN is reviewing the broad frameworks of its development financing funds with a view to creating new channels through which entrepreneurs with great ideas can access credit with minimal effort.”

Emefiele, also spoke of the turnaround to the Nigerian economy, saying the worst was actually over, as it had begun to witness progressive growth, through the sheer resilience, policies and wizardry of those handling the situation.  

 

 

Source Whirlwindnews.com

Posted on December, 1 2017

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