Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has stated that investing in and involving smart young talents is critical to the future of the Nigerian economy.
The American, who has been in the country, made the submission during a wide-ranging debate with Dr. ‘Bosun Tijani, CEO of Co-Creation Hub Nigeria, during the Pan-African Youth Forum 2023.
Gates emphasized the importance of the Nigerian youth’s voice in directing the country’s resources toward investments in infrastructure, health, and education.
In response to a question from Tijani about his framework for deciding what to focus on, the global philanthropist and technology leader cited the huge disparity between richer and poorer countries, as well as limited resources going into healthcare, as key factors in deciding what to prioritize.
He also mentioned being able to use his unique skill sets in organizing skilled teams to collaborate with people with knowledge in order to produce effect.
In response, the Co-Creation Hub Nigeria CEO raised the ability of entrepreneurs to deliver impact while also making revenue, to which Gates responded that he believed that if young people were able to apply their strengths, educate themselves, and make contributions in the spaces they were passionate about, the path to impact would reveal itself.
The discussion also touched on the impact of AI on education, health, manufacturing, and governance. The American shared some insights into his personal experience with AI, as well as instances of how it could benefit other industries, such as delivering efficiency in government services and operations.
He indicated that the continent’s big triumph would be in the use of AI, such as language adaptation and unique datasets in healthcare that tailored to African reality.
Following Mr. Gates’ talk, there was a panel discussion with Oluwatosin Olaseinde of Money Africa, Preston Ideh of Stears Insights, and Ifeoluwa Dare-Johnson of Health Tracka, three young Nigerian innovators developing unique solutions in financial literacy, information, and health care.
Dr. Tijani led the discussion, which focused on understanding the problems they faced during their startup journey and making recommendations on how to scale support for entrepreneurs like them.
The African Youth Innovation Forum was organized as part of Gates’ visit to Nigeria by Lagos Business School and Co-Creation Hub Nigeria.