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Bill Gates Spotlights Afrobeats, Nollywood, Health & Agricultural Sectors in Nigeria at Lagos Event

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Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates headlined the “Advancing Africa: Unleashing the Power of Youth in Science and Innovation” event in Lagos, Nigeria, co-hosted by Co-Creation Hub (CcHUB) Nigeria and Lagos Business School. It was aimed at gathering insights and sharing perspectives on how science and innovation can accelerate positive change and contribute to a brighter outlook for Africa.

Moderated by Bosun Tijani, co-founder and CEO of CcHUB, the event also gave the participants an opportunity to engage in a Q&A session with Bill Gates.

During his address, Gates shared his journey into the world of technology, highlighting the transformative potential of technology and encouraging Nigerian youth to leverage it for the development of sectors like health, education, and finance.

Bill Gates acknowledged Nigeria’s difficulties in allocating funds for future investments, maintaining long-term stability, and implementing effective policies. He emphasized the significance of investing in the skills and determination of talented Nigerian youth to tackle urgent issues like infectious diseases, maternal health, food nutrition, women’s empowerment, and positive change driven by technology.

Education and health were identified as critical sectors, leveraging Nigeria’s robust educational institutions and potential as a hub for venture capital and financial technology.

Parts of his address reads:

When I was young, even in my teens, I was thrilled that not only was it fun to write computer codes, but I could see that we were creating tools that would improve lives. That would create a digital revolution through the PC, the phone, and the internet, and that would make life better for people. It was thrilling to be part of it. And I’m sure you see that opportunity here. That your work can not only be fulfilling for you but also help the country develop.

There’s really a lot of opportunity now because of new technologies to improve all the different sectors. You name it: health, education, finance. Nigeria is in some way a contrast; the challenges that I talked about five years ago, focusing on finances and investment in the future, having strong finances, having a level of stability economically, and in terms of security that allows for long-term investments, those are challenges. Even if you do great work, your voice and your influence to drive policies to use these resources in the future will be very important.

When it comes to making the world a better place, talented young people like yourself are the world’s most important asset. That’s good news for Nigeria because it has one of the largest young populations in the world. And it’s continuing to grow. And represents, with the right investments, a lot of incredible skills and passion to tackle these top problems.

Yesterday, I had the chance to meet with some very impressive Nigerians with whom our foundation has been partnering on health and agricultural challenges. I met scientists who are doing great work with seeds, figuring out how to make the equivalent of fertiliser far or less expensive, and really helping farmers raise their productivity quite dramatically even in the face of climate change, which makes all agriculture more difficult. I also went over to the health sector and saw some great work to help pregnant women. This is an intervention, super impressive, about reducing aneamia. And I’m told, although I didn’t get to go myself this time, that the LBS virtual human-computer interaction lab has a really great thing where a lot of the students are figuring out how virtual augmented reality can help with a broad set of problems.

When we think about youth, both health and education are important. Nigeria is lucky to have so some great education across instuitions, and those are things to build on.

Bill Gates praised the creativity, entrepreneurship, and determination of Nigerians, highlighting their potential to contribute significantly to the world by utilizing technology, investing in education and health, and promoting inclusivity.

Of course, being here in Nigeria, I can’t help but mention the amazing creativity that goes on here. Afrobeats from Nigeria are popular everywhere. And when my daughter Phoebe heard I was coming to Nigeria, she said, “You’re lucky because you get to see Burna Boy and Rema,” so I had to look them up because I’m so ‘hip’. But I also remember the last time I got to see Davido and Wizkid perform, and I was quite impressed with that. My kids think I’ve come to a very hip place. And of course, the music industry may be the most visible, broadly across all cultural areas; whether it’s authors, movies, or Nollywood, there’s so much great work going on and it’s a significant industry.

The creative and enterpreneurship are really why I’m optimistic that despite huge challenges, Nigerians will have a great future and bring wonderful things to the world.

At the event, the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation participated in a conversation with Nigerian students and young leaders. See videos from the Q&A session.

Watch the full video here.

Star Features