It was an evening of fun, networking, and conversation on Thursday night at the British residence as the British Deputy High Commissioner Laure Beaufils hosted a gathering for Lagos’ youth demographic. For the first hour of the night, guests were treated to refreshments and fun activities like the photobooth & a big blackboard on which they scribbled their reflections on being a young Nigerian.
In her welcome address, the Deputy High Commissioner Laure Beaufils welcomed the guests and reflected on the purpose of the gathering. She said; ‘The talent and creativity of the youth of Nigeria are outstanding. As the UK, we want to celebrate and support this. But we are well aware that there is no one homogeneous group of young people and that alongside energy and creativity, there are sometimes frustrations too. That is why I am so happy to have hosted our first ever Youth Party in Nigeria. It was very important to us to host a diverse group of young people covering different sectors, to listen to them, better understand their aspirations and the challenges that they face, and be informed by their diverse experiences and views. Young people are the future of Nigeria and undoubtedly Nigeria’s strongest asset. We will continue to support them and engage with them.’
Afterward, the audience split into three breakout conversations around the themes of Technology & Business, Politics, & Creative Industries. Introducing the sessions, the Press and Public Diplomacy officer, Ireti Oluwagbemi said ‘the idea behind these conversations is to provide a space where young people can learn horizontally from ourselves and discuss issues that are important to us. We chose the themes that we did tonight because they are either industries that have a large concentration of young entrepreneurs or topics that young people are really passionate about. After piloting these sessions tonight, and depending on your feedback, we aim to continue to convene these sessions at regular intervals going forward.’
On Creative industries, Adesola Ade-Unuigbe, head of content for BellaNaija, & Elizabeth Osho, CEO of So.Me solutions discussed the balance between taking payment in cash or in return for exposure. Editor-in-chief of Techcabal Bankole Oluwafemi, & the CEO of Farmcrowdy Onyeka Akumah, discussed the use of technology to accelerate and make traditional industry models more profitable. In the third conversation, Prince Bukunyi Olagbegi, who founded the political party Banky W ran on, (MDP) & Laila Johnson-Salami, co-host of the youth targeting political show ‘On the Couch’ explored ways in which young people could strengthen their stake in the political process.
The conversations were participatory and guests got the chance to engage the speakers and work through solutions as a team, after which they were able to treat themselves to a BBQ buffet and other refreshments.