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Who Pays Tenement Rates?

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Who Pays Tenement Rates?

By Barrister Paschal Nwosu

A tenement is any type of property, such as an estate or land, that is owned by one person and leased to another. Although a tenement has many units attached together under one roof, they are divided by walls to give each family or occupant his or her own space and privacy.

Tenement rates are property taxes paid by landlords and or Occupiers of a Building payable to local government Councils as part of their internally generated revenue.

Recently I conducted a study on the subject of tenement rates which has become a vexed issue because of the inherent abuses by arbitrary rate increases, failure of most landlords to pay their rates as at when due with the consequent transferred burden on tenants.

The objective of the study conducted through my organization, Centre for Development Initiatives and Advocacy was to determine the impact of tenement rates on small businesses and infrastructural developments in south eastern states with the collation centre at my law Office at 11 Ihioma road Amaifeke, Orlu.

It was found as a fact that there is no generalized systemic formula or active determinants employed in fixing the rates charged. The rates were quite exploitative and undermining the development of housing, including the development of local economy and small businesses. It was also found that there is a general evasiveness of taxes by landlords and the unfairly transferred burden on tenants as occupiers.

There are also associated fiscal leakages and corrupt practices by revenue officers in collusion with the so called revenue consultants whose roles have been increasingly challenged.

The uses of revenue agents and consultants remain the major cause of the arbitrary tenement rates increments for selfish reasons. It is also a sad development that governments can delegate their functions to organizations without mandate or legislative assent and creating the permissive leakages that has undermined infrastructural development.

Introduction to the controversy

Tenement rates are land use charges imposed on buildings developed by landlords to enable the generation of revenues necessary for the development of infrastructures and social amenities such as pipe borne water, street lights, parks, markets, roads, maintenance of drainages and sustainable sanitation services. In any system where the tenement rates and other associated charges such as the renewable registration of business remises are properly articulated by policy, legislation and honest endeavours, there are always clear infrastructural development, industrial and commercial stimulation which drives the local economy, creates jobs and promotes a spirited poverty alleviation and grass root development.

Who should pay tenement rates?

This is seemly a straight forward question which has been answered before. The landlord is the person that is expected to pay the tenement rate to the local government council or the occupier. The term the occupier may also refer to the landlord where he is also the occupant of the building and has not let or leased same out or sadly, the tenant in occupation.

However as it is usually the case, the landlord often lets out the premises to a tenant or group of tenants and thereafter takes no responsibility for the payment of the property taxes, especially in such cases that he does not reside in the premises.

Naturally, when the landlord is inaccessible or lives outside the jurisdiction of the local government, he cannot be reached and served with the appropriate demand notices and or summons. However, the use of the word occupier enables the revenue officials to hold the tenant responsible for the assessed rates in respect of the property.

The tenants on their part are not very willing to pay the arbitrary fees charged as tenement rates since the amounts are very high, annually increased, exploitative, often unreceipted, or fraudulently receipted, and or based on the evaluations of non existent market values and principles that are static, systemic and provocative for the rural dwellers who have no such intentions to sell their houses.

Who should not pay tenement rates

Tenants, pensioners as occupiers and owners of family houses should not pay tenement rates. But under the Land Use Charge law No 11 of 2001 of Lagos state all land based charges are payable on real properties located in Lagos with each local government council empowered to collect the charges within its jurisdiction as the collecting authority, a function which can be delegated to the state in writing to enable the State make assessments of land use charges and collect same on behalf of the local government councils. Can the local government delegate its constitutional functions to the State? I disagree that this was the intendment of the constitution and may likely lead to a denial of the local governments, their necessary IGR by the state. There is however an important exemption of those not subject to the tenement rates in Lagos which includes pensioners in occupation, and family houses. However tenants are expected to pay tenement rates subject to indemnity from their landlords as occupiers.

Opposition to tenement rates

Opposition to tenement rates are growing and championed by tenants and businesses angry at the excessive taxation, double taxation and corrupt practices of the revenue officials. Elsewhere in Abuja, NEXT LEVEL RESORT dragged the Abuja Municipal Council to court over tenement rates together with the FCDA as 2nd defendants. The plaintiff formulated three issues for determination to it, whether; AMAC is authorized by law to collect tenement rates? The plaintiff also asked the court to determine whether it does not amount to double taxation on NEXT LEVEL RESORT to pay ground rent to FCDA, pay taxes to FIRS, and in addition, pay tenement rates to Abuja municipal council? It also wanted the court to determine whether tenement rates can be paid to AMAC without the inspection to be carried out on the property?

Delivering judgment, DanlamiSenchi J held that by virtue of sections 7, and 303, and 318, and section 1 of the 4th schedule to the constitution, section 55(a):(5)of the local government Act of 1976 and the Abuja Area Council Act of 2001, AMAC is empowered to collect rates for the economic and physical development of the Council and for the provision of basic amenities in the council.

In Port Harcourt, the PHC council has concluded public hearing on a law to check, regulate and control the payment of tenement rates which provides that all owners of houses within Port Harcourt shall pay tenement rates annually as assessed by the Port Harcourt City Government authorized valuer.

However, speaking at the public hearing, the NBA representative OSIMA GINA urged the councilors not to make laws that will infringe on the fundamental rights of the people. In the South- East, protests has only been taken up in organized form by medical practitioners whilst the people groan and revenue collectors grow fat on public grief. The uses of revenue consultants must be discouraged in the backdrop of enabling reforms and fiscal structures of county administrations.

Conclusion

The South Eastern governments need to review the regulations of tenement rates and ensure that vacant houses, pensioner occupied houses and family houses and rural dwellers are exempted from tenement rates There should be a drastic reduction of tenement rates in Areas outside of the capital cities to improve housing development in these areas and arrest rural urban drift. The arbitrariness in the fixing of tenement rates can be checked by regular and physical inspection of the premises to be rated by appropriate valuations.

At the same time, we cannot but affirm the illegality the action of the Lagos state government under the Land Use Charge law No 11 of 2001 of Lagos state, in seeking and accepting the delegation of the function of the Local governments, to collect tenement rates enshrined in the 1999 constitution which empowers the local governments to evaluate and collect tenement rates in the local government Areas as specified in the Schedule of the said constitution.

This is therefore, a violation and ràpe of our constitution

The Lagos state government in usurping and performing this important function undermines the autonomy and development of the Local government Areas in the State, notwithstanding its good intentions, if any.

Corruption: The World Bank lists of Nigerian looters and the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

The Nigerian public was shocked by the revelations by the World Bank, the apex international Credit and development bank which shows the massive looting of the Nigerian economy in the past decades evidenced by foreign accounts owned by the political class, public officers, and the military with outstanding performances by the erstwhile past heads of states, and the powers behind the emerging political challenges in the country.

I was devastated by the list not only because of the stupendous amount of loot lying in foreign banks and oiling the British economy and other EU nations that has paid lip service to the fight against corruption in Nigeria but also the sheer brazen thievery and primitive acquisition of wealth with its attendant stultification of our economy. It is estimated that over four hundred billion dollars made up of oil revenues, diverted international loans and internally generated revenues has been stolen and or misappropriated, most of which has found its way offshore and lying in foreign Banks.

Today Nigeria ranks as one of the poorest nations in the world, threatened by starvation, instability, unemployment, AIDS, poor health facilities, armed conflicts, energy crisis, health crisis, bombastic insecurity, and a devastating civil war with Islamist terrorists with a deluded leadership that seeks to develop the strongest economy in Africa in the backdrop of the chasm of odouriferous miasma of stifling corruption, failed infrastructures and debilitating energy crisis.

By Barrister Paschal Nwosu hellonnwosu@yahoo.com

Culled from The Nigerian Lawyer

 

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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Nigeria at 62: A Critical Analysis

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Nigeria at 62

By Jerome-Mario Chijioke Utomi

Going by historical events and developments starting from 1914, it is evident that Nigeria is not a natural country, state or nation but an artificial creation via a marriage of two unwilling brides who had no say in their forced and ill-fated union- an amalgamation of the northern and the southern protectorates on the 14th February 1914, a day set aside to celebrate love all over the world, by Sir Lord Lugard.

The British colonial overlords probably intended the protectorates to operate symmetrically with no part of the amalgam claiming superiority over the other. This arrangement conferred on the fledgling country the form of the Biblical trinity.

At independence in 1960, Nigeria became a federation, resting firmly on a tripod of three federating regions-Northern, Eastern and Western Regions. Each region was economically and politically viable to steer its ship.

Shortly after the independence, but before the country became a republic, precisely in 1961, something that qualifies as a setback happened.

According to a report, Southern Cameroun, which was then part of Eastern Nigeria, agitated that it wanted to leave Nigeria to rejoin their French Cameroun brothers. The United Nations resolved the matter by conducting a plebiscite to determine whether it was the wish of the majority of the Southern Cameroon people, then part of the British Colony, to leave the independent nation of Nigeria.

An overwhelming majority, said to be around 90% of the people, agreed to leave Nigeria, and they did in 1961, thereby reducing the geographical size and population of the Eastern Region of Nigeria, a clear warning of a possible separation of Nigeria’s constituent ethnic nationalities from the Nigerian Federation.

That was not the only early warning signal that something was fundamentally wrong with the federation.

Take, as an illustration, the federating units were meant to enjoy some level of independence, yet mutual suspicion among them was rife as regional loyalty surpassed nationalistic fervour, with each of the three regions at a juncture threatening secession.

The late Premier of the Western Region once described Nigeria as a “mere geographical expression” and later threatened “we (Western Region) shall proclaim self-government and proceed to assert it”, a euphemism for secession.

In the same vein, the Northern Region under the Premiership of the late Ahmadu Bello never hid its desire for a separate identity. Just before independence, the region threatened to pull out of Nigeria if it was not allocated more parliamentary seats than the south. The departing British colonial masters, desirous of one big entity, quickly succumbed to the threat.

In fact, the north at that time pretended it never wanted anything to do with Nigeria. For example, the motto of the ruling party in that region at that time was “One North, One People, One Destiny.” And the name of the party itself, “Northern People’s Congress (NPC),” was suggestive of separatist fervour and distinct identity.

It has also been said in several publications, which no one from the north has refuted till today, that the primary reason for July 29, 1966, bloody revenge coup carried out by young soldiers of Northern Nigerian extraction which led to the massacre of thousands of Igbo soldiers and civilians, including Nigeria’s first Military Head of State, General Thomas Johnson Umunakwe Aguiyi-Ironsi, was primarily to pull that region out of Nigeria.

But of all the secession threats since independence, it was the one issued by the Eastern Region in 1966-67 following the bloody counter-coup of July 1966 and subsequent genocide by northern soldiers and civilians in which thousands of easterners living in the north lost their lives or were maimed, and the failure of Gowon to implement the Aburi Accord which was aimed at settling the crisis, that was much more potent.

This also explained the massive ARABA (secession) protests that rocked the region shortly after the coup. The result was the declaration of the Eastern Region independent country with the name “Biafra” on May 30, 1967, by the then Military Governor of the Region, the late General Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, in compliance with the Eastern Nigeria Consultative Assembly resolution and mandate of May 26, 1967.

The proclamation ended with the emotional ‘Biafra Anthem,” The Land of the Rising Sun rendered in the beautiful tune of ‘Finlanda” by Sibelius, symbolising the end of the struggle to assert the self-determination of a new nation.

The scene was set for a confrontation between the new state of Biafra and the balance of the ethnic nationalities that made up the Federal Republic of Nigeria and to resolve the question of the unity of the Nigerian states by use of force (see the report titled Scientific and Technological Innovations in Biafra).

Without a doubt, today, the war ended over 50 years ago, but its effects and fears remain and stare on our faces.

More dangerously, after 62 years of independence, a wave of secessionist sentiments is still sweeping across the country, with restive youths in the north and southeast as the main gladiators. Some groups in the southwest and south-south have also joined the fray to demand the marriage of 1914 be ended as the basis for its continued existence has severely been weakened.

For example, at the return of democracy in 1999, Ralph Uwazurike, an Indian-trained lawyer from Imo State, ignited a passion for Biafra among southeast youths via his separatist platform Movement for the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).

MASSOB and its founder enjoyed tremendous following and respect among mostly youths of the region and it almost became an alternative government in the southeast. The group’s sit-at-home orders were religiously obeyed, just as the one declared by IPOB on May 30th was a monster success.

Uwazuruike’s support base has since drastically waned following dissent in MASSOB. But from the ashes of MASSOB’s bye-gone years of strident pro-Biafra agitation came Kanu and IPOB, a much more vitriolic but charming personality and organisation.

Kanu happened in the national and international limelight through a pirate radio called Biafra, which he used as a vehicle to promote the agitation to actualise the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) quest for independence. Two factors have so far worked for Kanu in his separatist agenda: his long incarceration by the Buhari government over Biafra and the recent quit notice given to the Igbo residing in the north by Arewa youths. Both factors, apparently unknown to President Buhari’s handlers, have helped and still helping IPOB and Kanu’s cause. One, his incarceration for almost two years helped to project him to his supporters, a mass of Igbo youths, and the international community as a prisoner of conscience and freedom fighter.

Secondly, the thoughtless quit notice by northern youths to the Igbo resident in the north has not only made Biafra more attractive to most south easterners and portrayed Kanu as a messiah of the Igbo but has triggered off a chain of secessionist sentiments in the southwest and south-south.

While those of us who believe in the unity of Nigeria may not agree with the campaign by any group or ethnic nationality to dismember Nigeria, the truth must be told to the effect that the whole gamut of restiveness of youths, whether in the south-east, south-south, north or south-west, and resurgent demand for the dissolution of Nigeria stems from mindless exclusion, injustice and economic deprivation.

Evidently, Nigeria has not fared well as a nation in all sectors of national endeavours. Let’s look at the particulars of this claim.

Fundamentally, there is no denying anymore that presently, life in today’s Nigeria, quoting Thomas Hobbs, has become nasty, brutish, and short as Nigerians diminish socially and economically, and the privileged political class on their part continues to flourish in obscene splendour as they pillage and ravage the resources of our country at will.

Again, even as we celebrate, it remains a painful commentary that presently,   no nation on the surface of the earth best typifies a country in dire need of peace and social cohesion among her various sociopolitical groups than Nigeria as myriads of sociopolitical contradictions have conspired directly and indirectly to give the unenviable tag of a country in constant search of social harmony, justice, equity, equality, and peace. As a nation, Nigerians have never had it so bad.

Nigeria is a nation soaked with captivating development visions, policies and plans, but impoverished leadership and corruption-induced failure of implementation of development projects on the part of the political leaders is responsible for the under-development in the country. Today,  mountains of evidence support how seriously off track the present administration in the country was taking the nation with their deformed policies, ill-conceived reforms and strategies,

Lately, the greatest and immediate danger to the survival of the Nigerian state today is the unwarranted, senseless, premeditated, well-organized and orchestrated killings across the country.

The country’s economy, on its part, has shown its inability to sustain any kind of meaningful growth that promotes the social welfare of the people. The result can be seen in the grinding poverty in the land (eighty per cent of Nigerians are living on less than two dollars per day – according) to the African Development Bank (AFDB) 2018 Nigeria Economic Outlook. Nigeria is ranked among the poorest countries in the world.

Sadly, according to a report from Brookings Institute, Nigeria has already overtaken India as the country with the world’s largest number of extremely poor in early 2018. At the end of May 2018, Brookings institute’s trajectories suggest that Nigeria had about 87 million people in extreme poverty, compared with India’s 73 million. What is more, extreme poverty in Nigeria is growing by six people every minute.

In Education, 10.5 million children are out of school in Nigeria, the highest in the world. Our industries continue to bear the brunt of a negative economic environment. As a result, job losses and unemployment continue to skyrocket, creating a serious case of social dislocation for most of our people. The University students have been at home for nearly seven months or more. No thanks to the incessant industrial action which currently characterizes the nation’s university system.

The running of our country’s economy continues to go against the provisions of our constitution, which stipulates forcefully that the economy’s commanding heights must not be concentrated in the hands of a few people.

The continuous takeover of national assets through dubious (privatization) programs by politicians and their collaborators are deplorable and clearly against the people of Nigeria. The attempt to disengage governance from public sector control of the economy has only played into the hands of private profiteers of goods and services to the detriment of the Nigerian people.

This malfeasance at all levels of governance has led to the destruction of social infrastructure relevant to a meaningful and acceptable level of social existence for our people. It has been shown that adequate investment in this area is clearly not the priority of those in power.

As a result, our hospitals, whether state-owned or federal-owned, have become veritable death centres where people go to die rather than to be healed. The absence of basic items such as hand gloves and masks indicates decadence and rot in the country’s health National Budget recommended by the United Nations.

With regard to the criminal justice system, our people, especially the poor and vulnerable, continue to suffer unprecedented acts of intimidation and violation of rights at the hands of security agencies across the country. Extra judicial killings, lack of scientific-based investigation of crimes and corruption in the judiciary contribute to acts of injustice against the innocent. Our prisons have become places where prisoners are hardened rather than places of reformation of prisoners for reintegration back into society.

As to the solution to these challenges, this piece and, of course, Nigerians with critical minds believe that leadership not only holds the key to unlocking the transformation question in Nigeria but to sustain this drive, leaders must carry certain genes and attributes that are representative of this order.

Thus, as the nation celebrates, one point Nigerians must not fail to remember is that only a sincere and selfless leader and a politically and economically restructured polity brought about by national consensus can unleash the social and economic forces that can ensure the total transformation of the country and propel her to true greatness.

This, as argued elsewhere, will help ensure adequate social infrastructures such as genuine poverty alleviation programmes and policies, healthcare, education, job provision, massive industrialization, and electricity provision, to mention a few. It is critical to jettison this present socio-economic system that has bred corruption, inefficiency, primitive capital accumulation and socially excluded the vast majority of our people.

The only way this can be done is to work to build a new social and political order that can mobilize the people around common interests, with visionary leadership to drive this venture. Only then can we truly resolve some of the socio-economic contradictions afflicting the nation.

Utomi is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Public Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos. He can be reached via jeromeutomi@yahoo.com/08032725374

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How Standard of Living in Africa is Making Start-Ups Innovate Around Disposable Income

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disposable income

By Otori Emmanuel

An organisation in its early phase of existence is referred to as a start-up. Entrepreneurs that desire to create a product or service think there is a market for launching start-ups. Because start-ups often have high startup costs and low revenue, founders frequently look for money from a variety of internal and external sources, including personal savings, loans from family and friends, business venture capitalists, and crowdsourcing. There are start-ups in different industries like Information Technology, agriculture, communication, health and other sectors.

Start-ups and Innovation

Establishing a start-up takes careful planning, including consideration of factors like business location, cost of goods or services, product packaging, and supply efficiency. Start-ups frequently run the risk of failing because of unfavourable environmental and industry conditions. Embracing new opportunities and focusing on innovation, among other methods, are accelerators for a business’ survival and growth.

Although, it is true that established businesses also frequently collapse. Technology has advanced throughout time, and many start-ups are combining the cutting-edge idea of tech into their respective fields.

For example, tech is now being used to improve education as in edtech, finance as in fintech, and more use cases are being introduced to daily activities. Statistics show that start-ups are expanding most quickly globally in the technology sector. Over the past few decades, Africa has seen an exceptional number of start-up generations.

The State of Start-ups in Africa

The phrase “start-up” became more common in the 1990s as the number of enterprises centred on technology and the internet rapidly increased.

According to an analysis, African start-up marketplaces hit historic heights in 2021 at over $4 billion, representing a nearly 20x rise since 2015. Start-ups have been increasingly popular in Africa due to various factors, including drawing on previous success stories from the west, attempting to address grassroots challenges, adapting global content to local quirks, and adhering to supportive policies. In terms of current economic events and cultural developments, numerous different facts are at play here.

In terms of living standards, the rate of extreme poverty in rural areas in Africa was close to 50%, which was far higher than the rate in urban areas, which was about 11%. According to the conference board’s Global Economic Outlook, the pace of global GDP growth will reach a recessionary level in 2023 after starting to decline from 3.1% in 2018 to 2.7% in 2022.

Africa has clearly also been impacted by the global economic downturn, which has resulted in a sharp decline in living standards, lower-quality goods, higher costs, and inflation. When prices increase generally, yet fewer goods are available for the same amount of money in an economy, this is called inflation.

When there is inflation, sources and forms of income are affected, from passive income to investment income to disposable income. Our focus here is the disposable income which is the money left to take home after tax and other deductions. Most households depend on disposable income for survival, and the trending inflation gradually steals from this income of an individual in the form of increased grocery prices and the cost of feeding. This has led to the term “sachetization”.

Startup business owners use this approach to satisfy declining demand and maintain operations. Sachetization is the idea of distributing products, which are typically sold in greater amounts, in smaller quantities using sachets in an effort to increase sales. Sachetization helps consumers purchase what they can afford. When only a small amount is required, consumers do not need to buy big quantities of the commodity. So far, this has appeared to be sustainable, with the exception of its drawbacks, where it has been observed that sachet items are of low quality, contain fewer items than is indicated, and even defraud the consumer into purchasing smaller packages when, in reality, a larger package would have been more appropriate.

Reduced disposable income has also affected start-ups in maintaining production costs, purchasing raw materials, increased interest rates on loans, market instability and declined demand.

Therefore, to get through the process of inflation, individuals, households, and businesses seek sustainable measures to meet their needs. A few include:

  • Cost efficient purchases
  • Budgeting
  • Opportunity cost methods
  • Valuable investments etc.
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Upskilling Young People to be Entrepreneurial in Digital Age is Critical

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Didi Onwu entrepreneurial digital age

Africa’s young people are undoubtedly one of the continent’s greatest resources. As other regions battle with ageing populations and declining birth rates, Sub-Saharan Africa can lay claim to a median age of 19.7 with around 70% of the population under the age of 30. Those young people are increasingly well-educated and connected. 

But all that potential means nothing if they aren’t getting the opportunities needed to fulfil it. And in many countries, it’s clear that they aren’t. In South Africa, the continent’s most advanced economy, the unemployment rate sits at  63.9% for those aged 15-24 and 42.1% for those aged 25-34 years. In Nigeria, meanwhile, the rate among people aged 15-34 is around 42.5%. And in Kenya, the lobby group, The Youth Congress, claims that seven out of every 10 unemployed people are aged 35 and under. 

While there are a number of interventions that could, and should, be made to help reverse those figures, perhaps the most important is to ensure that young people have the skills they need to be entrepreneurial. Indeed, research has shown that innovators can create significant wealth and have considerable developmental influences on society.  

It’s even more critical at a time when technology is accelerating so fast that jobs can quickly become redundant.    

“Fostering entrepreneurship among young people not only enables them to create their own opportunities and employment for other young people,” says Didi Onwu, Managing Editor at The Anzisha Prize, an organisation born out of a partnership between African Leadership Academy and Mastercard Foundation that seeks to increase the number of job generative entrepreneurs fundamentally and significantly in Africa. “It can also help them recognise and pursue employment opportunities that they might not have been able to otherwise.” 

Yes, entrepreneurship  really is a skill 

Before digging into exactly what kind of skills can help foster entrepreneurship among a whole continent’s worth of young people, it’s worth pointing out that there’s a pervasive myth that needs to be busted. Over the years, glowing profiles of entrepreneurs (particularly in the tech space) have convinced many that entrepreneurs are born rather than made. 

But, as Onwu points out, that’s simply not true. 

“The idea of the brilliant innovator turned billionaire makes for a good story,” she says. “But dig a bit further and you’ll see that most successful entrepreneurs were given the tools they needed to succeed from a very young age.”

Microsoft founder Bill Gates, for example, was given extensive time with his high school’s computer at a time when having one was still a rarity. His mother also sat on the board of a non-profit with then IBM chairman John Opel, and helped the then fledgling company score a contract with the computing giant which ultimately proved crucial to its future success.   

“While we can’t give every prospective young African entrepreneur a family connection, we can help them develop critical entrepreneurial skills that will serve them well in the future,” says Onwu. 

The right skills matter most  

While there are obviously a number of hard skills, such as those that concern technological proficiency, which are important to being an entrepreneur, the really valuable ones are a little more intangible. And equipping young people with those skills requires more than a straightforward curriculum. 

Take network building, for example. While you could teach the basics in a course, establishing real networks takes time and consistent effort. The same is true for pitching to investors for funding. Other skills, such as mastering the fear of failure, can only be learned through practice. 

“It’s something that we thought hard about when we redesigned the fellowship programme from the ground up a few years ago,” says Onwu. “We wanted to ensure that our fellows were holistically building a broad range of entrepreneurial skills throughout their fellowships and beyond.”

Fellows are, for example, given access to communities of fellow entrepreneurs, introduced to a wide network of stakeholders and business experts, and provided with the opportunity to shadow successful entrepreneurs in their sector. It’s an approach which makes a great deal of sense when you consider that research has shown that exposure to innovation has a significant positive impact not just on the kind of innovation that young people produce, but also on their overall ability to be innovators.    

Upskilling, now and forever

It should be absolutely clear that Africa needs its young people to be equipped with entrepreneurial skills if they are to meet their full potential in an age of accelerated technology. And, as Onwu points out, efforts to ensure that this is the case need to be made at every level of society. 

“While we’re incredibly proud of the work we do at the Anzisha Prize, along with our partners, no single organisation can provide all of Africa’s young people with the skills they need to thrive as entrepreneurs,” she says. “It needs buy-in from governments, NGOs, the private sector, and a variety of other stakeholders.”

Moreover, these efforts cannot simply be short-term and instead need to be sustained over a prolonged period.

“The factors that make upskilling Africa’s young people to be entrepreneurial so important now aren’t going away anytime soon,” she concludes. “It’s therefore critical that all efforts are made to ensure that any initiatives aimed at building entrepreneurship are sustainable and capable of adapting to a constantly shifting business and technology environment.”

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