Digital Marketing in Africa: Bringing Much-needed Skills to Nigeria’s Youth - Business Post Nigeria - news mania

Digital Marketing in Africa: Bringing Much-needed Skills to Nigeria’s Youth – Business Post Nigeria

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By Brian Abel
There is a huge demand for digital marketing skills around the world, hardly surprising in a vastly online world, in which the majority of people are considered to be permanently plugged in. In essence, if you’re not marketing to people digitally, you’re not really marketing to them at all. Considering this, it is astonishing just how big of a skills gap remains.
Prior to 2020, we already witnessed a wide digital marketing skill gap, and this has only increased in recent years thanks to the rapid digital transformation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, according to research by Salesforce and Rand Europe, the skill divide is so large that it could cause 14 G20 countries to lose out on $11.5 trillion in cumulative GDP growth. Africa is not excluded from this growing divide either. Despite difficulties ascertaining the precise figures on digital marketing within Africa, it is worth noting that research from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) shows that some 230 million jobs across the continent will require digital skills by 2030.
However, thankfully, within that same skill gap, there is a significant opportunity for young Africans and Nigerians. If young professionals are equipped with the necessary skills to succeed, especially within digital marketing, doors will begin to open for them. This will enable them to not only guide domestic businesses through their digital marketing transformations but also become significant players on the global digital stage.
The Importance of Digital Marketing Skills 
In order to understand the scale of the opportunity, it’s worth remembering that Nigeria’s GDP, already the largest in Africa, is set to reach $450 billion in 2022, having returned to a growth trajectory post-COVID-19. Furthermore, increasingly large proportions of that economy are also either wholly digital or digitally enhanced. In fact, digital revenues in the country are expected to hit $16.43 billion by 2025, up from $11.38 billion this year.
Moreover, it is also worth noting that only 51% of Nigeria’s population currently have internet access. However, as the infrastructure for connectivity becomes more ubiquitous and prices fall, that number will grow rapidly, and it is anticipated that 35 million additional Nigerians will be online by 2026. It is therefore clear that there remains plenty of room for growth within Nigeria’s economy, and in parallel, it will become increasingly important for both multinationals and homegrown businesses to market themselves online. That in turn makes it critical to not only foster, but also grow digital marketing skills, and ensure that those companies have the best possible on-the-ground support.
The Youth Opportunity
Fortunately, Nigeria already benefits from a booming young population, with an average age of 18, and many of which are digital natives, having grown up with mobile phones, and access to the internet. Therefore, having already been indoctrinated into the digital world, they are unafraid of technology, understand its potential to connect people with brands, and are eager to expand their knowledge.
Therefore, by equipping Nigeria’s youth with in-demand digital marketing skills, it is possible to not only ensure success for business marketing but also that these young professionals get the chance to enter high-growth industries with the promise of economic advancement.   This is undoubtedly critical in a country where unemployment for people aged 15 to 24 is as high as 53.4%.
Nevertheless, in order for any digital marketing skills initiative to make a tangible difference, it cannot be solely focused on providing young people with just general skills. Thus, instead must ensure that everyone has the relevant skills needed to effectively market to people across the world’s leading digital platforms, including Twitter, Snapchat, and Spotify.  This notion is in fact at the core of our commitments at Aleph Group. Our Digital Ad Expert Programme aims to educate, certify, and connect thousands of Africans with the digital skills needed to succeed in a rapidly digitising economy.
Our aim is to create a generation of young people that are capable of driving their local digital economies to the next level.
Beyond Marketing 
It is, of course, important to consider the additional benefits of these skills, as they will not only serve individuals who choose to pursue careers in marketing. In fact, the skills and certifications provided may also complement entrepreneurial enterprises or symbolize a diving board into the broader digital landscape, and thus, ultimately result in added developers, technicians, and well-rounded generalists crucial to building the digital economy.
The digital opportunity in Nigeria is massive, it is, therefore, crucial that the country’s young generations are given the best possible chance to embrace it, and therefore equipping them with essential digital marketing skills may well be the best place to start.
Brian Abel is the Team Lead for Greater Africa at Ad Dynamo by Aleph
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By Adedapo Adesanya
As world leaders converge on Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, to discuss climate change in what is regarded as the Conference of Parties 27 (COP 27) summit, one of the critical points that the Nigerian government has hammered on is the energy transition plan. What exactly is this plan, and how will the country attain it?
In Nigeria, desertification in the north, floods in the centre, pollution and erosion on the coast, and the associated socio-economic consequences all allude to the reality and grave impacts of climate change. This is worsened by the country’s rising population as it is expected to lead to the highest rise in population growth by 2050. On the back of this, it is necessary to ensure improved living conditions for millions of Nigerians, and the next couple of decades present a unique opportunity to merge these two priorities; economic development and climate action.
At COP26 held in Glasgow, Scotland, President Muhammadu Buhari announced Nigeria’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2060. His administration has not stopped here; the Climate Change Act 2021 was passed, and Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan (ETP) was unveiled.
Also, the ETP has been fully approved by the federal government, and an Energy Transition Implementation working group (ETWG) chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, comprising of several key ministers and supported by an Energy Transition Office (ETO) was established.
Africa accounts for less than 3 per cent of the world’s energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. It has the lowest emissions per capita of any region. In addition, there are still over 580 million people on the continent without reliable energy, and the demand for electricity is expected to continue to increase as populations rise, industrialization ambitions grow, and urbanization continues to fuel the need for more electricity.
Nigeria, the largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa, is endowed with huge oil, gas, hydro, wind, and solar resources, but constraints in the power sector impact growth and industrialization. With some measures that include tapping into these, Nigeria targets being carbon neutral by 2060.
Nigeria’s net-zero pathway will result in significant net job creation, with up to 340,000 jobs created by 2030 and up to 840,000 jobs created by 2060, driven mainly by the Power, Cooking and Transport sectors.
Nigeria’s energy transition creates significant investment opportunities such as the establishment and expansion of industries related to solar energy, hydrogen, and electric vehicles.
The Nigeria ETP sets out a timeline and framework for the attainment of emissions reduction across 5 key sectors: Power, Cooking, Oil and Gas, Transport and Industry. Within the scope of the ETP, about 65 per cent of Nigeria’s emissions are affected.
In terms of power, Nigeria is seeking to transition away from diesel or power generators and look at the gas- and renewables-backed electrification to take up the bulk of current generation capacity. This will be reflected in sectors such as buildings, industry m, and transportation.
In transportation, Nigeria is seeking to decrease emissions by 97 per cent by encouraging the uptake of electric vehicles, while for cooking, Nigeria is aiming for speedy replacement of traditional firewood, kerosene, charcoal by Liquified Petroleum Gas, electric cookstove, and biogas in rural homes.
For Oil and Gas, it is seeking to decrease emissions by reducing flaring and fugitive emissions while supporting decarbonisation while in the industry, the country is driving decarbonisation efforts in cement and ammonia production as well as a 100 per cent shift to zero-emission fuels for heating.
The additional cost of the energy transition above usual spending translates to ~$10 billion annually over the coming decades. To kickstart the implementation of the ETP, Nigeria seeks to raise an initial $10 billion support package at COP27.
However, the nation has even greater room for investment. A $23 billion investment opportunity has been identified based on current in-country programmes and projects that are directly related to the just energy transition.
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By Steven Edge
As internet connectivity is becoming increasingly ubiquitous and more accessible across Africa, brands are now faced with little choice but to invest in digital media campaigns. You can’t, after all, reach these growing audiences if you aren’t active in this space. In order for digital media campaigns to achieve their objectives, they require the best possible chance to be effective, and this can’t happen without price transparency. 
Unfortunately, that isn’t always a given. Despite many brands being eager to embrace and execute digital campaigns, they often struggle to do so. That’s because middlemen typically levy a substantial markup on their offerings, thus limiting the digital media buying budget available to promote the actual campaign.  This does not, however, have to be that way going forward. 
Demystifying Digital 
Before looking at what brands can do to ensure that they’re receiving full value on their digital campaigns, it’s worth understanding how this situation arose in the first place. 
In part, the situation was allowed to precipitate because of expertise. When digital marketing first became viable, the leadership in most brands’ marketing teams were still strongly rooted in analogue forms of marketing. In that environment, it made sense to have people translate a brand’s creative vision for digital channels. 
That’s especially true when considering that digital marketing was a lot more complex a few years ago than what it is today. Navigating that complexity and helping a brand achieve its objectives required highly specialised skills. Those skills, in turn, came at a premium.   
Unfortunately, some of these middlemen took, and continue to take advantage of that disconnect in understanding and complexity. Even as brands build more digital capacity in-house and most media owners have made marketing as simple as possible, many in the digital media buying space especially continue to charge high markups. As long as middlemen keep convincing marketers that they need to pay these markups, they’ll keep charging them.
As more and more people across the African continent come online (Nigeria alone is set to add another 35 million internet users by 2026), marketers risk spending far more budget to reach their target audiences.             
It’s, therefore, critical that marketers understand there are alternatives.  With the right approach, it’s possible to ensure their entire digital media buying budget is spent promoting their digital media campaigns. 
Trading in markups for price transparency 
The best way for brands to ensure this is to only work with credible media buying companies that practise price transparency. They should ideally look for a media buying partner that does not apply a markup to their promoted media. That way, brands can ensure they have peace of mind that they are purchasing media at best possible price.
But transparent pricing isn’t the only thing that brands should look for in a media buying agency. It’s also important that they work with one that can give them an effective marketing presence on the digital platforms most relevant to their target markets. It’s additionally important that brands select a company that understands Africa is both vast and diverse. Ideally, it should have dedicated teams in key markets, giving the client access to locally relevant viewpoints and insights. The media buying agency should also have teams educated and skilled in the best practice of each platform.    
By taking this approach, brands can ensure they’re getting maximum returns from their digital marketing efforts at best possible value. 
Building for Africa’s digital marketing revolution 
There’s absolutely no doubt that Africa’s digital connectivity revolution is fostering a secondary digital marketing revolution. According to Statista, digital advertising spend in Africa is currently valued at US$3.19 billion. Two years ago, it was valued at US$2.09 billion and by 2027, it’s expected to be worth US$4.53 billion. By any measure, that’s significant growth. 
But if brands are to realise the full benefit of this growth, price transparency will be critical. 
Steven Edge is the Chief Operating Officer of Ad Dynamo by Aleph
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By Jerome-Mario Chijioke Utomi
There is no gain any more saying that the nation Nigeria is currently riddled with a high rate of insecurity which includes but is not limited to banditry, armed robbery, and kidnapping, is no longer the news. Such daily sad occurrences have become word-made flesh and now dwell among us.
The newsy aspect of the conversation is that the weak, defective and unclear provisions of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution not only exacerbate the challenge and discourage development in the country but, most regrettably responsible for the myriad of problems confronting the nation in ways that see both Nigeria and Nigerians keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different result.
However, if there is any development in recent times that dispatched signals about the urgent imperative for our leaders to drop the habit of tackling security challenges in the country, which has morphed to the ‘next level’ with the same thinking used when it was created, and contemplate state/community policing in the country, it is the result that has trailed the ongoing surveillance contract recently awarded by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), to Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, a company owned by High Chief Government Ekpemupolo (A.K.A. Tompolo), the Ibe-Ebidouwei of Ijaw Nation, and Global Ambassador of the Ijaw people.
Going by commentaries, if policymakers in the country could take time to study Tantita’s recruitment process, operational dynamics and environmental matrix, they(public office holders) will discover without labour that Tantita as a company and pipeline Surveillance project run on the wheels of state/Community policing templates.
They share the same spirit, virtues and attributes.
Take, as an illustration, the majority of Tantita’s security personnel were recruited from and posted to the same community/environment where they hail from. They operate and watch over pipelines within their communities and environs.
As a result of this security template/roadmap, barely two months after Tompolo was awarded the multi-billion naira oil security contract, he discovered over 58 illegal points in Delta and Bayelsa States where crude oil was being stolen. More specifically, there was a media report that Tantita Security Service Nigeria Limited, on Thursday, October 7, 2022, successfully arrested a crude oil tanker loaded with an unspecified quantity of crude oil at the Escravos River in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta state.
Similar results and breakthroughs are precisely what state/community policing could achieve if allowed in the country.
The reason for the above assertion is not farfetched.
Aside from the new awareness that globally, the provision of security can no longer be viewed in a unitary way as such thinking is out-fashioned if an objective analysis can replace emotional discussion regarding state/community police, it is glaring that there are no federal police or state police models, but there are fundamental differences between the two. While cultural and geographical homogeneity, which are strong factors and advantages of state policing, are lost in federal policing, state police depend on these factors and more such as historical and friendship, to keep society orderly and without anarchy. This value no doubt makes productive policing without the disorder. And state governments have the capacity to fulfil this obligation.
President Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) is aware of this fact.
In August 2019, while he played host to the traditional rulers from the Northern part of the country led by the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, the President stated that the ongoing reform of the police would include recruitment of more hands, cultivation of stronger local intelligence and networking with communities, traditional rulers and adequate training. This, in specific terms, will include recruiting more police officers from their local government areas, where they would then be stationed in the best traditions of policing worldwide. Working with the state governments, we intend to improve the equipping of the police force with advanced technology and equipment that can facilitate their work.
From his speech, he did not only underline the importance of but also underscored the virtues and attributes of recruiting more police officers from their local government areas, where they would then be stationed in the best traditions of policing worldwide.
The next question is; having seen from Tantita’s examples and achievements the usefulness of recruiting, and allowing officers to work in their familiar environments, what alternative is open to the nation if not state/community policing, particularly as it is obvious that the vast majority of states can afford it.
In my view, there is no alternative to having state police that is adequately equipped and completely answerable and controlled by the state governors.
In fact, there are other major reasons that are Buhari-specific as to why the constitution urgently needs to be amended to accommodate state police.
Basically, if providing adequate security for the masses is the government’s priority, it should be the collective responsibility of the citizens to contribute to the success of the process. What the masses are saying, and wanting, in my understanding, is that the padding of the Second Schedule of the Exclusive Legislative List of the 1999 Constitution with about 68 items has made Abuja suffer ‘political obesity’ and needs to shed some weight via power devolution.
As noted elsewhere, the bloated exclusive list has made our nation currently stand in an inverted pyramid shape with more powers concentrated at the top and the base not formidable enough, making collapse inevitable if urgent and fundamental steps are not taken. What the proponents of state police/restructuring are saying is that the majority of the items are too trivial for the Federal Government to handle and should serve the greater good of the people if left in the hands of both the state and the local governments.
Utomi Jerome-Mario is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Public Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), a Lagos-based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). He can be reached via Jeromeutomi@yahoo.com/08032725374
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