Stuart Symington, the United State Ambassador to Nigeria, has encouraged young African entrepreneurs to learn from Silicon Valley and patronize each other.
The ambassador made this call in the Oyo State capital of Ibadan this week, during a program put together by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). The attending youths who hailed from Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Congo, graduated from diverse fields of agricultural discipline.
Symington urged the youths to buy products from themselves while reiterating that: “You are your own buyers, and you should be your own internal buyers.” He further advised them to put together the lessons learned during the buying process. “Each should learn from the mistakes and experiences of the other,” he added.
Symington recommended the Ghanaian model of microfinance, where a village was transformed after villagers took on the task to finance one another. It is possible that they would fail, but “You entrepreneurs need to pick yourselves back up,” he said.
According to the ambassador, African entrepreneurs should learn from the Silicon Valley maxim. “In Silicon, they have an expression: ‘If you haven’t failed once, you are not in business.’ You are like Silicon Valley. You will fall; pick yourselves up. Is there anyone who rides a bicycle for the very first time without falling off it?”
Symington added that the food production challenge is essential in Africa while mentioning that every nation on the continent should encourage its youths to venture into agriculture.
The EYA group, through Evelyn Ohanwusi, who is the interim head, had made a presentation to the ambassador on how it operates on a philosophy of “to grow crops, you must grow farmers,” and how its goal is to reduce the economic marginalization of the African youth through modernized agricultural technology.
Image Courtesy: Independent Newspapers Nigeria