Industry experts call for more collaboration within the startup ecosystem at ThriveAgric’s inaugural Abuja Tech Converge

As techathon winners receive employment offers and N4.5m in cash prizes

Abuja, Nigeria - December 5th, 2023 - Leading agricultural technology company, ThriveAgric, has concluded the debut edition of the ‘Abuja Tech Converge - TechXcelerate' conference held in partnership with OCP Africa, a subsidiary of OCP Group, championing sustainable farming in Africa. The 2-day event brought together some of Nigeria's most influential players in technology including startup founders, policy makers, ecosystem enablers and high-powered government officials, to discuss the challenges, innovations and opportunities for technology in the region.

Hosted at the Peachvine Marquee, Abuja, with more than 500 people in total attendance, industry experts discussed collaborative technology for community impact, sustainable technology and impact investing, as well as Talents: nurturing the next generation of innovators, among other content tracks. Notable thought leaders including Akintunde Akinwande; Head, Business Development & Digital Projects for Nigeria, OCP Africa, Oluwatomi Ayorinde; CEO, Payforce by FairMoney & Cynthia E. Chisom; VP, Ecosystem & Venture Labs, Spark Africa HQ, set the ball rolling in an engaging panel on the need for collaboration in the ecosystem. Other highlights of the 2-day event were keynotes, breakout sessions, product showcases and a techathon where young tech talents walked away with prizes.

In his opening keynote address, Senator Isa Yuguda, former governor of Bauchi State called on the government to channel more investment into the agriculture sector in areas like technology and infrastructure to address the problem of food insecurity and hunger. He further stated that the revitalisation of the country's river basins and construction of more dams will immensely drive this. Echoing the ex-governor's position on the role of technology, Akintunde Akinwade, Head, Business Development and Digital Projects of OCP Africa, said, the Abuja Tech Converge will showcase the potential of technology in reshaping the future of agriculture which will engender sustainable communities.

Delivering his welcome address that set the tone for the day, Uka Eje, CEO, ThriveAgric and conveners of the Abuja Tech Converge said, "The aim of this conference is to demystify the agriculture sector as a legitimate, inclusive and viable economic sector and to trigger a movement of new recruits and believers. We want to make the sector more attractive and champion a different system of collaborative agriculture that actively embraces different groups of people - rural and urban youths, technology enthusiasts and innovators, local investors, regulators and all levels of government so we can build the country of our dreams."

Also at the event, ThriveAgric unveiled the first set of graduating interns in their Tech-Talent Accelerated Programme (TAP). The six-month programme launched in May this year, is designed to support young tech enthusiasts looking to achieve their dreams in the ever-evolving world of technology. Over 4000 applications were received however only 20 candidates were admitted into the intensive programme where the successful participants were upskilled in core technical areas including frontend development, backend development, and product (UI/UX) design. The closing activity was a techathon sponsored by OCP Africa whereby a cash prize of two million naira was awarded to a group of 4 interns who designed a healthcare solution capable of providing personalised healthcare services to patients. The runner up groups walked away with one million naira and 500,000 naira each for building a recruitment solution and a customised learning solution respectively. Other winners from this year's TAP cohort are Aneminyene John-Prince, Caleb Owatah and Caleb Ali who emerged overall best students winning N500,000, N300,000 and 200,000 naira respectively.

Speaking on the goal behind the Tech-Talent Accelerated Programme (TAP), Favour Eze, Head of People and Culture at ThriveAgric, said, "The growing demand for tech talents in the ecosystem has led ThriveAgric to build a specialised program that fosters a diverse pool of talented professionals prepared to tackle key industry challenges both within the agri-tech industry and other sectors. Our biggest impact is that we've transformed participating interns into skilled professionals. This new level of expertise has resulted in 7 of the 20 participants being offered employment opportunities both internally and with our program partners, as well as another 5 graduated interns who are currently undergoing recruitment processes by other organisations. This is a step in empowering African youth to achieve their career dreams."

According to African Development Bank, if youth unemployment rates remain unchanged, nearly 50% of young people (excluding students) will be unemployed, or economically inactive by 2025. Equally, the United Nations has estimated that digital technology will account for over 90 percent of available global jobs by 2030. By training and upskilling local tech talent with essential tools to kick start their careers via TAP, ThriveAgric is addressing the existing skills gap within the technology industry in Africa while building a pipeline of quality talents for the global market. This is aligned with events like Abuja Tech Converge where ThriveAgric is driving knowledge exchange between industry leaders, investors, mentors, and other stakeholders within the startup sector, while also creating an ideal opportunity for young tech talents to interact and connect with industry professionals towards building a sustainable economic future for the continent.

About ThriveAgric
ThriveAgric is a fast-growing agricultural technology company passionate about ensuring food security. They empower smallholder farmers, leveraging their technology to access finance, and improve productivity & sales to promote food security. ThriveAgric has 450+ warehouses and works with over 500,000 smallholder farmers in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya. ThriveAgric's Theory of Change target for 2027 is to provide $500 million in credit to 10 million smallholder farmers and to double the numbers by 2050.

About TAP
The Tech-Talent Accelerated Program (TAP) is an internship scheme designed to assist young people who have an enviable interest in the world of tech to achieve their dreams. It's here to avail them with the requisite knowledge, skill set, and aptitude to jumpstart or improve their career in this field and also introduce them to the vast opportunities in the fast-growing and increasingly competitive industry.

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