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Dutch Vice-Consul Economic Affairs Visits Zarttalent Foundation Lagos Office

Dutch Vice-Consul Economic Affairs Visits Zarttalent Foundation Lagos Office

In a bid to support startups deploying innovative solutions to tackle some of the challenges in Nigeria, the Vice-Consul Economic Affairs at the Dutch Consulate General in Lagos, Abel Neering, paid a courtesy visit to the Lagos office of the Zarttalent Foundation on Friday, December 3rd, 2021.

The Nigerian tech ecosystem is one of the fastest-growing in Africa and there are so many startups leveraging technology to solve the problems facing the country. Interestingly, these startups are attracting investors from different parts of the world, including the Netherlands.

A report released by Maxime Bayen, a Senior Venture Builder for Catalyst Fund at BFA Global, notes that African startups have raised more funds in the first half of 2021 than they raised in the first half of 2019 and 2020 combined. The report said that startups on the continent had raised a whopping $1.19 billion in funding, with deals worth $1 million and above accounting for about 95% ($1.14 bn) of the total funding raised.

The Dutch Consulate General of the Netherlands in Lagos is actively contributing to improving the labour position of youth in Nigeria through programs and policies such as the Dutch #YouthatHeart Policy and the youth employment strategy in Nigeria.

The Challenge Fund for Youth Employment, the recent Meaningful Youth Participation Event and the establishment of a Youth Advisory Council to advise on Dutch policies and programmes in Nigeria are a few examples of Dutch programs to support Nigerian youth.

This involvement has prompted vice-consul Neering to visit Zarttalent Foundation in Lagos, providing the consulate with general insight into how the foundation is bridging the gender, social and Inequality gap and improving youth employment for marginalised in Nigeria.

“Over the years, the government of the Netherlands has introduced various initiatives and programmes to promote youth employment, e.g. via digital skills development, and young entrepreneurs across Africa, amongst others Nigeria. The Netherlands is doing this to enable youths to tap into the opportunities offered by the digital revolution and to support founders of startups who are passionately working to find sustainable solutions to African challenges. Moreover, The Netherlands also actively involves youths in decision making to leverage their valuable ideas and understanding of the challenges they face. 

“Zarttech Is a great example of a Dutch-Nigerian startup leveraging on the digital revolution by bringing demand and supply for tech developers together. My visit to Zarttalent Foundation is to understand how they aim to bridge the inequality and skills gap in Nigeria.

By providing training and internships to underprivileged youths to become junior developers they will not only create a pipeline of much-needed developers, but they will also contribute to creating meaningful youth employment. This is a win-win situation”.    

During the visit, Neering, who toured the office, said he was impressed with the Foundation’s ambitions and commended the management’s efforts in bridging the inequality and skills gap.

“I much appreciate the efforts of the Zarttalent Foundation in equipping young Nigerians with relevant skills that would make them employable in the future. Their approach by providing internships and access to markets for junior developers is an approach that appeals to me. The Consulate General of The Netherlands is happy to promote initiatives like this”.   

Commenting on the visit, the Chairman of the Zarttalent Foundation, Nelson T. Ajulo, said: “Our social impact solution enables us to combat poverty and inequality not in Nigeria but across the world. First, our students undergo an intensive six months of training in relevant digital skills. Upon completing the training, they join Zarttech, formerly known as  Zarttech, for a one-year internship where they will work on practical projects and become junior software developers.

Then we connect them to the global marketplace where they can start earning. Our solution is free and quick. It can quickly get Nigerians out of poverty and empower girls by reserving 50% of applications into the Zart Academy. In addition to this, we are fighting brain drain because these engineers work remotely. This is good as it will enable them to contribute to the growth of their immediate communities. Through this, we are bridging the closing gender, social and race gap.

“So we are delighted that the Vice-Consul Economic Affairs is identifying with us by visiting us. We look forward to partnering with the consulate in creating a just and equitable world.”

About Author

Aina Adepeju is a Mass Communication graduate. Adepeju loves photography. She is a Member of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) and Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON). Adepeju can be reached via [email protected]

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