Lagos, Thursday, 30th March 2017 – Nigeria is the most populous black nation with a population over 170 million, and an expected growth of over 50% by 2030. However, Nigeria is plagued with several characteristics that plague many developing countries, with the United Nations Human Development Reports of 2016 ranking Nigeria at 152, with a life expectancy of 53 years, a gross national income per capita of 5443, and a multidimensional Poverty Index of 0.279. Placing our constant population increase side by side the latter statistics presented above immediately highlights the dire need to equip the Nigerian development sector for more purposeful work for Africa’s future. This, among other insightful issues, was the theme for Ideation Hub Africa’s 3rd Development Dialogue tagged, "Equipping Nigeria’s Development Sector for Economic Growth and National Prosperity”.
The event commenced at 9am at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Conference and Exhibition Centre, Alausa, Ikeja and hosted two sessions of engagement. The morning conference had the convener, Debola Deji-Kurunmi, give the welcome speech to open the dialogue session, which was immediately followed by a keynote speech from Dr. Adesina Bryon Fagbenro, Chairman/CEO Mothergold Limited. In speaking to delegates, he highlighted the perpetuating state of institutional irregularity in Nigeria, and went on to propose solutions to map a progressive path for Nigeria, including: tailoring national reforms to fit state contexts, investing in changing people’s mindsets, encouraging support for competition, implementing evidence-based decision making processes and recognising and embracing the United Nation's (UN) stipulated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially in the areas of inclusion and global partnerships.
Following his speech was the lead seminar session by Mr. Peter Bamkole, Director at Enterprise Development Centre Pan-Atlantic University. Mr. Bamkole revealed several instances of how social challenges are being catered for by social innovators with an entrepreneurial outlook, such as Recycle Points, Life bank, and DMT mobile toilet enterprises. He stressed that adding value is a key parameter in social enterprises.
The morning session then moved on to host a showcase of four social innovators: Kunle Adewale, Crystal Chigbu, Ronke Aderionye, and Funbi Falayi, who are all making tremendous impact in the areas of art, health, agriculture and information technology respectively. Several inspiring and challenging life experiences and words were shared, ranging from challenges that innovators dare to dream and implement their dreams no matter how small, youths should be willing to start small and grow the ranks, consistency and credibility in business are strong points for growth, and the need for realistic timing and how the ability to effective communicate one’s story is key to having others buy into their dreams and businesses.
The event was also largely interactive, hosting a sector-focused session, where conference delegates were broken into 10 sector groups, based on space of influence - Justice and Governance, Science and Technology, Economic Empowerment and Poverty Alleviation, Education, Entrepreneurship, Healthcare, Gender Advocacy, Energy and Environment, Agriculture, and Media - to establish a network, interact, as well as, discuss the challenges that exist in their sectors, while proffering solutions, recommendations and sharing ideas. Each sector then had the chance to present outcomes of the discussion to the forum.
Speakers at the event
The morning session was concluded with photographs, networking and visits to the exhibition stands.
Soon after, the afternoon session began with an exclusive Executive roundtable that featured industry leaders speaking on why funding proposals often do not get through the door, and elaborating on business strategies and tips on growing an African brand for the rest of the world. The speakers, who were also ready to answer the keen questions from the delegates comprised of Olusola Amusan (Citizenship Manager, Microsoft), Mfon Ekpo (CEO, The Discovery Center) and Bukonla Adebakin (Deputy Chief Operation Officer, The Future Project).
By and large, the conference had participants from diverse facets of business including entrepreneurs, trainers, non- profit organisations and their representatives, CEOs and other professionals. Delegates were evidently pleased with the opportunity to connect with new and old prospects. The event came to a close as the convener thanked all attendees, sponsors and exhibitors while also reiterating their Big Why Project which promises to be a documentary and directory of African stories.
Group photograph of Attendees