In a significant stride towards fostering technological advancements in agriculture, ThriveAgric, a leading agricultural technology company, successfully concluded the inaugural edition of the ‘Abuja Tech Converge – TechXcelerate’ conference. In collaboration with OCP Africa, a subsidiary of OCP Group dedicated to sustainable farming in Africa, the 2-day event served as a dynamic platform for industry leaders, startup founders, policymakers, and government officials to delve into the challenges, innovations, and opportunities in technology for agriculture.
Collaborative Dialogues and Expert Insights
Hosted at the Peachvine Marquee in Abuja, the conference witnessed the convergence of over 500 attendees. Distinguished thought leaders, including Akintunde Akinwande of OCP Africa, Oluwatomi Ayorinde of Payforce by FairMoney, and Cynthia E. Chisom of Spark Africa HQ, led engaging panel discussions. The focal point was the imperative need for collaboration within the startup ecosystem, touching on collaborative technology for community impact, sustainable technology, impact investing, and nurturing the next generation of innovators.
Strategic Opening and Keynote Addresses
Senator Isa Yuguda, former governor of Bauchi State, set the tone with a compelling keynote address. He urged the government to invest more in the agriculture sector, particularly in technology and infrastructure, to address food insecurity and hunger. Akintunde Akinwade, Head of Business Development and Digital Projects at OCP Africa, highlighted the potential of technology in reshaping the future of agriculture and fostering sustainable communities.
Tech-Talent Accelerated Programme (TAP) Unveiling
ThriveAgric took a step further by unveiling the first set of graduating interns from its Tech-Talent Accelerated Programme (TAP). Launched in May, this six-month program aimed to support young tech enthusiasts in navigating the ever-evolving technology landscape. With over 4000 applications, only 20 candidates were selected for intensive upskilling in frontend development, backend development, and product (UI/UX) design.
Techathon and Cash Prizes
The event's highlight was the techathon sponsored by OCP Africa, where a cash prize of two million naira was awarded to a group of four interns for designing a healthcare solution offering personalized healthcare services. Runner-up groups, developing a recruitment solution and a customized learning solution, received one million naira and 500,000 naira each, respectively. Additional accolades were bestowed on outstanding students.
Empowering African Youth for the Future
Favour Eze, Head of People and Culture at ThriveAgric, shed light on the purpose behind TAP. In addressing the growing demand for tech talents, TAP serves as a specialized program, transforming interns into skilled professionals. Notably, seven out of the 20 participants received employment opportunities both internally and with program partners, while five graduates are undergoing recruitment processes with other organizations.
Addressing Youth Unemployment and Building a Global Talent Pipeline
The initiative aligns with the African Development Bank's warning about youth unemployment rates. If unchanged, nearly 50% of young people (excluding students) will be unemployed or economically inactive by 2025. The United Nations estimates that digital technology will account for over 90 percent of available global jobs by 2030. TAP, by upskilling local tech talent, not only addresses the skills gap within the African technology industry but also builds a robust pipeline of talent for the global market.
Towards a Sustainable Economic Future
Events like Abuja Tech Converge exemplify ThriveAgric's commitment to knowledge exchange and collaboration within the startup sector. By creating opportunities for interaction between industry leaders, investors, mentors, and young tech talents, ThriveAgric is contributing to building a sustainable economic future for Africa. The conference serves as a pivotal platform for driving innovation, fostering collaboration, and accelerating the technological evolution of agriculture on the continent.