Your first question should be, “what business does the tech industry have with the local government?”
Let me ask you a question instead. What is the biggest challenge facing the Nigerian youth?
Some would say education, others would say infrastructure, and others would say employment.
All of these are true, and there have been calls on the government to fix these sectors.
The closest form of government to the people is the local government. From the ward councilor to the local government chairman, you can get to them faster than you can get to the governor or president.
Yet, when we go to them, we majorly ask for help with paying school fees, ask them to buy one transformer or patch a road, or ask for employment into a civil service that is already bloated.
Becoming a ward councilor or local government chairman is often the first step in starting a political career.
This is where you’ll build the antecedent that would be referred to in ten to twenty years as you run for governor, senator, house of representatives, or even president.
People will ask, what innovation did you introduce to address the challenges bedeviling your constituency?
The tech industry is on its way to becoming the largest employer of labor globally.
It is currently estimated that over 55.3 million people are currently employed in tech. The US tech industry alone, meanwhile, is currently valued at over 1.6 trillion dollars.
That valuation is expected to rise to 5 trillion dollars at the end of the year. No other industry is projected for such growth. Not even the oil industry.
The tech industry’s impact on places like Silicon Valley, Bangalore, Melbourne, Munich, and Manchester cannot be understated.
What is Nigeria’s response to that? Yabacon Valley.
I should mention that I don’t know if Yaba is a valley, and I don’t think “con” should have been added to the name. Silicon Valley isn’t the only tech hub in the world. No one is adding “cons” to their names.
This is Nollywood all over again.
Trivial matters aside, with the population of Nigerian youths and the innovation they possess, one tech hub would be too small to serve them all.
Other local governments should be strategizing on how they can create their innovation zones and encourage tech companies to create a presence there.
India currently serves as the call center capital of the world. American and British companies outsource the whole of their call center operations to India.
The call center industry currently accounts for 8% of India’s GDP, employing 3.1 million workers in the process. Meanwhile, in the Philippines, it employs 1.5 million workers and makes up 10% of the GDP.
Do you have an idea what boost such figures would do to the Nigerian economy?
If a local government decides to create a tech hub, they do not have to start from scratch. By partnering with Zwart Talent, they can count on years of expertise and an already existing framework to help them train youths in IT skills.
With six months of practical training by tech experts, these students will graduate with the quality of education that is lacking in most Nigerian universities after a four-year degree.
Zwart Talent will also help these students with one-year internship placements. At this stage, the students will get the first-hand experience that would prepare them for the job market.
They would also start building their portfolio of work that would help advertise their proficiency soon enough.
As soon as they are done, Zwart Recruit would help them with getting remote work with IT firms around the world.
Imagine the effect of having 20, 50, or 100 youths from one local government working with foreign companies while living in that local government.
This will be a major influx into the local government economy. These youths will also be able to help their families and friends out of poverty.
And for graduates with brilliant ideas, Zwart Hub can help create a start-up hub where such innovative minds can flourish.
With the expertise of Zwart Talent, any local government can be made into the next Silicon Valley.
Zwart Academy will provide education quickly, Zwart Recruit will provide the jobs, and Zwart Hub will provide the connection, knowledge, and mentorship for start-ups.
As the new local government chairpersons are resuming office, they should have the plight of the youths of their constituency at heart.
From Alimoso to Agege, Apapa, Epe, Badagry, Eti Osa, Ajegunle, and the rest, technology holds the key to unlocking the wealth potential of Lagos State. And Zwart Talent Foundation has the answer.