Nigeria’s youthful demographics are in a golden opportunity for transformation. With 43% of the population being age 14 and under, we are set to have an abundant working-age population for decades to come.
But currently, this booming youth population is not so much an opportunity as an albatross for the country. Social cohesion and the economy are endangered by it. There are few countries in the world with a higher unemployment rate than Nigeria. At the beginning of this year, the unemployment rate for 15–24-year-olds stood at 53.4%, and for 25–34-year-olds, it was 37.2%.
In Africa’s most populated country, nearly a third of the 70-million workforce is unemployed, and the majority of those are younger than 35 years old.
As Nigeria’s unemployment rate rises, many young career seekers are turning to the crypto industry, which has seen job opportunities grow every year. As more investors pour their money into the market, bringing with them funds and new companies, there are opportunities for young people, even if it’s from a relatively small base so far.
According to Artur Schaback, Co-Founder & COO, Paxful, Nigeria has one of the youngest populations in the world, with over 75% of its population under 35. The youths of Nigeria are highly determined and resourceful, they just need more opportunities. A solution to this problem is to encourage more uptake of youth entrepreneurship.
Paxful also opened up the PaxNaija educational centre in Abuja—established to educate, train, and inform Nigerians on the adoption of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. Paxful also recently funded the Qala Fellowship, a program that will find and grow local Nigerian talent, starting with the developers who want to build a career in crypto.
The business development manager at FTX Africa, Adebayo Juwon, described how the cryptocurrency exchange is giving young Nigerians a chance to find careers in the crypto sector.
He said, “FTX in Africa provides educational platforms to help people understand crypto and blockchain, which over time opens them up to numerous job opportunities in the industry.
“Students from Nigerian universities are working with FTX in Africa on crypto education. Among the events hosted by the company are crypto tours and campus events across its major cities.
“Over 10,000 Nigerian students and crypto enthusiasts have benefitted from campus events and crypto tours sponsored by FTX.”
The cryptocurrency market has become a haven for many young people in Nigeria, where employment opportunities are hard to find.
Moreover, some of the skill sets required for the jobs are easily acquired, and the jobs are remote-friendly, have flexible working time, are transparent, and are less rigorous.
Blockchain technology has the potential to reduce barriers to inclusion, contributing approximately $29 billion to the country’s gross domestic product over the next decade, according to a report from Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA), a financial sector development NGO that promotes financial inclusion in Nigeria.
To take advantage of cryptocurrency-based enhancements, people need internet access. In 2021, 51.44% of Nigerians were internet users, according to Statista. By 2026, this share is projected to reach 59.9%, presenting a unique opportunity for job growth partly contributed by the Crypto economy.
The use of cryptocurrency has enabled the unemployed in the Sub-Saharan economy to sell merchandise as well as boycott conventional e-commerce systems, which often require a user account with a conventional bank, and thus several fees.
With interest growing among young people pursuing careers in cryptocurrency, companies like Binance, FTX, Luno have stepped up with programs that enable Nigerians to deepen their knowledge of the market and become professionals.
Binance CEO and cofounder, Changpeng Zhao stressed the importance of the world’s second-largest crypto exchange for educating and empowering Nigeria and the whole African continent.
“Throughout the continent, we have brought crypto awareness since 2020, providing the masses with the skills and knowledge they need to successfully navigate the blockchain world.
“We’ve done this through Binance Academy and Masterclass. Since last year, the latter initiative has provided free blockchain education to over 400,000 Africans. In addition to expanding our ecosystem offerings, we are implementing initiatives in Africa that promote education,” he said.
In this interview, Deborah Ojengbede, Chief Executive Officer of AFEN Group, discusses how Africa’s largest NFT project is revolutionizing Arts, Real Estate, and Education via increasing Job opportunities in Africa’s most populated country.
Startups and companies create employment, of course. AFEN today has an increasing number of employees working towards the startup’s goal. Over 25 individuals have gained experience working in the web3 and blockchain industries since starting as a small team. I find it even more remarkable how most of the team members have never met; this gives me a deeper insight into the new way of working in the web3 and blockchain industries.
Such gains are under threat, as the Nigerian central bank earlier this year, upset the crypto ecosystem, banning crypto transactions with traditional financial institutions. Those transactions surged in popularity as the local currency plummeted in value, complicating transactional processes in Nigeria where digital assets still rely heavily on fiat currencies despite being virtual. A number of Nigerian crypto start-ups including Patricia are now moving operational headquarters overseas as a result.
To maximize the potential of crypto and blockchain technology in Nigeria, a collaborative effort needs to be undertaken by multiple stakeholder groups, including regulators, financial service providers, development institutions, and donors.
To ensure risk-balanced implementation of emerging technology in Nigeria, these stakeholder groups need to communicate and collaborate.
Policy adjustments of this nature will ease the way for young people’s digital enterprises to grow, attract more foreign direct investments (FDI) and make room for young people to take advantage of appropriate educational and employment opportunities.