By Juliet Chukkas – Onaeko, Guardian
For observers and professionals in the country and within the continent alike, the recently concluded 6th Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, Kenya, which was declared open by the President of the United States of America, Barrack Obama, reflects a new dawn for Nigeria, Africa and millions of its young and aspiring entrepreneurs.
However, worthy of great importance is to understand that as fertilizer is to the enhanced and improved production of bountiful harvest of crops; so also is the acquisition of skills, particularly technical and vocational skills to the making of true and sustainable entrepreneurs that can identified industrial needs, meet manpower for development requirement and become job and wealth creators.
Launched by President Obama in 2009, the Global Entrepreneurship Summit for a start aims to bring together young and budding entrepreneurs and investors from across the African continent and around the world, in order for them (budding entrepreneurs) to showcase their innovative projects, exchange new ideas, and by doing so, spur economic opportunity and growth within and outside their regions.
This latest summit, coming on the heels of the vastly acclaimed and very successful visit of President Muhammadu Buhari, (GCFR) to the United States of America, is a positive signal to the rest of the world that Africa, nay Nigeria’s time to blossom economically and industrially has indeed arrived.
So, in agreeing with President Barrack Obama as he consistently identify entrepreneurship, particularly amongst young people as representing the future of not only Africa, but of the world, the question that becomes appropriate and imperative to ask would be how Nigeria, with its mega youth population and position as the undisputed economic leader on the continent can benefit from the outcome of this summit alongside previous ones in the immediate and long term.
Firstly then, known it must be, by aspiring young entrepreneurs and other stakeholders that the Global Entrepreneurship Summit has pledged almost over five billion dollars to upcoming young entrepreneurs in Africa and around the world in the last six years. More than four billion dollars was pledged in 2014.
Secondly, smaller and lesser endowed countries like Morocco, Cote d Ivoire and Senegal have already benefited immensely from the establishment of an academy by Carmaker Volvo, for 140 entrepreneurs. The academy will also focus on the maintenance of industrial and commercial equipment’s. If these nations can so benefit, why not Nigeria?
Bringing into consideration, the warm and cordial relationship that currently exists between the United States of America and Nigeria, particularly when viewed in the light of President Buhari’s recent visit, Nigeria, it can be rightly predicted, can and should be able to receive even more extensive support, both from the United States Agency for International Development and the United States Department of State’s Global Entrepreneurship Programme to help the nation’s young entrepreneurs start and grow businesses through start-up competitions, awareness events and mentoring.
As part of these benefits, Nigeria can also through the global entrepreneurship programme, benefit from the floodgates of American investments that will expected to inflow into the country. The global entrepreneurship summit can connect the country’s emerging entrepreneurs with leaders from business, international organizations and governments looking to support them from around the world.
It is on record that since 2009 when the United States of America came on board as one of the major anchors of the summit, the programme has successfully helped young and even established entrepreneurs from throughout the Muslim world to generate more than 80 million dollars in revenue for their companies through its Global Innovation and Science and Technology initiative, (GIST).
Thus, Nigeria, with its huge population of young, educated, mobile and urbane Muslims, can also benefit from the “GIST” initiative in ways that will help produce young job creators, curb insecurity and empower women and children in the