Tech Talent – Nigeria’s New Oil? – Event Summary
Nigeria’s tech talents are increasingly being hired by foreign companies, resulting in the best talents migrating abroad. In recent times, foreign companies are now setting up developer outposts in Nigeria. Examples are Tech giants like Microsoft, Facebook, and now TeleSoftas - the European Product Development Giant. This was a result of their engagement of 5 Nigerian Tech Talents in the European Union funded program - Digital Explorers, designed to harness the potential of Nigeria’s digital talents and create further opportunities for their growth by engaging them with companies in Lithuania.   These local setups have provided more jobs within the economy, created linkages with the international community and encouraged more young Nigerians to stay back home while making a decent living. This has also shown that there is a huge opportunity that can be amplified and begs the question - Could Tech Talents be Nigeria's new Oil?   The Orbra Company in collaboration with Digital Explorers and TeleSoftas hosted an ecosystem dialogue event aimed at exploring the umlimted potential of Nigrian Tech Talent for sustainanble the development. The event had various stakeholders in attendance. This included, govenrment officials, private sector players, embassies, international development organisations etc.   The Event was anchored by Mimschach Obioha - Country Manager of TeleSoftas in Nigeria. The event started with a welcome reamark by Ololade Otayemi - CEO of The Orbra Company who is the Nigerian partner facilitation the local setup of TeleSoftas in Nigeria. He started by stating that Nigerian Tech Talent are know to produce better results when compared to their counterparts accross the world, despite the setbacks they face within and outside the country.   After his remark, there was a presentation from Mante Makauskaite - Co-Founder of AfriKo - a Lithuanian organisations and key partner in the exectution fo the Digital Explorers program. The program connected Nigerian tech talent with Lithuanian companies. She shared the motivation for starting the Digital Explorers program and why Nigeria was a country of interest. She also shared some of the challenges faced so far and lessons learnt.   Next there was a presentation from Kennedy Ibeh - a Nigerian software engineer working with TeleSoftas in Lithuania. Kennedy joined TeleSoftas through the Digital Explorers program. He shared his experience so far with the audience. Following Kennedy's presentation were two panel sessions. The first session tagged "Could Talent be Nigeria's Next Oil?" was moderated by Nkechi Oguchi - CEO at Ventures Park, Abuja. The session featured key players in the ecosystem; Ife Adabayo - SA to the Vice-President of Nigerian on Innovation, Bruce Ayonote - CEO of Suburban Fiber Company, Joel Ogunsola - Former SA to the Ondo State Governor on Innovation and Partnerships and Co-Founder of Tech4Dev, Emeka Igbeka - Vice-President at Vertex Software Corp, USA and Kenechukwu Chukwu - Member Service Maneger at Afrilabs. The Panel stated that Nigeria needs to begin to shift focus from oil and begin to take advantange of her growing youth population. With Covid, it as become much easier to work remotely which creates more opotnities for young Nigerians to work with companies across the world while living in Nigeria. The second panel tagged "Nigerian Image vs Nigerian Talent" was moderated by Stacy Ewah - Program Manager by Code For Africa. The session featured; Usman Maaruf - Digital Economy Department of the National Information Technolgy Development Agency (NITDA), Dr Tobi Moody - Country Lead of the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organisation, Mohammed Jega - Founder, Startup Arewa, Andre Dada - CEO of Knight Software Solutions UK, Oswald Osaretin Guobadia - Senior Special Assistant to The President of Nigeria on Digital Transformation and Fola Olatunji-David - Former Head of Startup Success at Google who joined virtually. The panel share their various experiences as Nigerians in the international scene and how the public image of Nigeria as a country has affected them. They also discussed how the country can begin a deliberate process of rebranding and creating more opportunties for Nigerian tech talents.   After the panel sessions, Algirdas Stonys - Founder and CEO of TeleSoftas,  gave a Keynote address where he shared his personal experience working with Nigerians  at TeleSoftas and what informed the decision to setup a local office and hire more Nigerian software engineers.   Asides the speaker and panelists, there were other notable appearances such as; Mrs Yewande Sadiku -  Executive Secretary of The NIgerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Mohamed Felata - Executive Director at Ventures Platform Foudation, Dr Sam Onipede - Principal Economist at The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Femi Adeluyi - Technical Assistant to the Honorabile Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Andy Madaki - IT Consultant at The World Bank Group, Frank Okafor - The European Commission (EU) and many others.   The event ended with an outdoor networking dinner. The Photos from the event can be found here. A full video of the event can be replayed here.

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