I’m about to shake a table a lot of Nigerians are standing on – degrees and qualifications that never get used! Chizbeth.com will be shaking tables from time to time…so why not get right to it in this article!
Deciding what to do with your life is the very bane of human existence! While conversations about corruption, unemployment, mass migration of skilled workers and poverty are already raging – I want to drop the fact that a lot of Nigerians have degrees they never use into the equation of things holding Nigeria back! Ultimately the solutions to our unique challenges have to be developed by those who understand the local context and can create content that is relevant to the intricacies of our society!
Gaps in the Nigerian Educational System
There are 2 distinct career paths that young Nigerians are faced with, though alternative paths have become obvious in recent times – Employment vs Entrepreneurship! Working for yourself or Working for someone else. Factors that commonly determine which path individuals adopt include – background, education, network and location.
Some argue that the Nigerian educational system is geared towards churning out employees. This is supported by the fact that historically parents advised their children to study hard and get good grades so they could land good jobs upon graduation. However, high unemployment rates and higher underemployment have sufficiently disillusioned millions of Nigerians on the merits of this sole focus.
A middle class upbringing and formal education used to spell employment while lower income backgrounds and less formal education denoted learning a trade or working menial jobs. In recent times and with the growth of digital media more options are available to those that can identify and pursue the opportunities presented. Ultimately more and more people are choosing to forge their own paths away from the norms.
The advent of social media influencers, internet comedians, online businesses, sports betting and so many more have provided viable sources of income outside of traditional systems and career paths. There are so many entrepreneurial opportunities for individuals that acquire the necessary knowledge to monetize their knowledge, skills and online presence.
A Lack of Local Data Content
While capitalizing on the broader landscape of opportinities the digital space has provided to Nigerian youth there is a need to emphasis the need for Nigerians to generate local content. Often when local content is discussed the focus is on entertainment – having Black characters, Nigerian accents and African fashion styles reflected. While this form of local content is relevant, Nigeria has greater need for local content in terms of credible statistics, credible investigative journalism, data rich market insights and reports!
A few weeks ago the hot topic of discussion on social media was the Nigerian population and how credible the number being projected. If more Nigerians actively created content and developed data banks there would be credible systems for validating statistics! Data from multiple sources would then be available for cross-referencing.
To buttress the importance of Nigerians creating and putting local data content online; imagine the ease of finding information online while travelling in a western country and compare that with finding information on how to get from Abuja to Ogun state by road. Your best bet in Nigeria is to ask someone that knows because the information is not online!
The ease of accessing market data for western countries versus accessing market data for the Nigerian market are light years apart! While the governments of western countries are responsible for a lot of the market information, more general information is put online by individuals through blogs, websites and videos. The gaps in the Nigerian data space need public and private contributors to lean in and do the work.
Creating Local Intelligence & Data
The fact that we do not have enough Nigerians conducting proper research studies, generating content and collating data from our local economy prevents us from having a resource of local intelligence that can be harnessed for business, strategy and development purposes. For instance, if I want to start a bakery in Wuse, Abuja today, there is no credible source of historial business or financial data to help me assess the feasibility or profitability of such a venture.
Though the National Bureau of Statistics produces and releases data periodically the focus of their surveys seem to be more macroeconomy focused. The timing of the surveys is also very unreliable, for instance the Micro, Small, and Medium enterprise study they conducted in 2017 is almost 4 years after the previous one in 2013!
The Opportunity in Local Intelligence
Government agencies in developed economies collect, collate and churn out an abundance of data and intelligence that other government agencies, businesses and individuals draw insights from to identify opportunities in those economies!
While we keep having these conversations and pushing for more transparency, acountability and efficiency from the Federal Government of Nigeria and it’s agencies, I belief there is an opportunity for private organizations and individuals to fill this huge data gap in our ecosystem by generating the content!
*If you are a small business owner and you would like to participate in a survey of small and medium enterprises in Abuja, Nigeria, kindly complete the form below to join the Chizbeth database and we will contact you when we are conducting that survey. Participants in the survey will receive a complimentary copy of the report!*