Jared Cohen, the CEO Jigsaw and an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations expressed his pleasure as being part of The Platform and commended Pastor Poju on the energy he gets from the program every time he was invited.
Answering Pastor Poju’s question about the situation of things in the global world politics, especially between the US and China, Jared says he sees this situation as a new type of rivalry between the democrats and authoritarians especially due to the advent of Covid-19. He noted that among other things, the two countries both have something different to offer, especially in technology. China offering quicker technology while the US offers something longer and more comprehensively better.
Away from the global issues, Pastor Poju asked Cohen Jared the first question as it relates to Nigeria. He said, ‘because of globalization and the economy of scale, products from rice from China and software from India can be made available more cheaply in Nigeria than made in Nigeria alternative. How does a relatively young nation like Nigeria is trying to wean itself off oil, finding areas to develop a competitive advantage in? Is closing our economy for a period of time the answer?
Responding to this, Jared explained that closing the economy can not be the way out, except for extreme Covid19 health situations. He revealed that he has always felt that the extraordinary human capital is Nigerian greatest asset, and not oil or other natural resources, emphasizing that he has never encountered any other set of people in the world with ideas for capital than Nigerians. He says we must ask ourselves the important questions, like “what is getting in the way of entrepreneurship in Nigeria”? We must identify those and be able to sort it out. Keeping our economy opened and flexible is the way out.
Pastor Poju’s second question was based on ways to generate capital for startups. He noted that although Nigeria’s tech startup capital was six hundred and fourth three million dollars last year, it was still so much less than what other countries generate for their startups. He asked how we can generate capital for our own ecosystem in Nigeria? Jared pointed out that there are different ways to attract capital into the country, he referred to one of the most effective ways of doing so as the Demonstration method. Explaining that Nigeria has a lot of things to exhibit to the world, especially her human capital. He advised that the country should document her successes and showcase them to the world. Tied to this, he said Nigerians must continue to put pressure on the government to reduce corruption in the government and build trust in the committee of nations. He insisted that investing in human capital is a better alternative for Nigeria and advised successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria to lead technological adoption for more success.
As the third question, Pastor Poju asked that with the huge relocation of Nigerians to other countries, what is the talent strategy that works anywhere in the world? Jared in responding to the question says Nigerian has an advantage with diaspora citizens and Nigerians in the diaspora can be an ambassador for diaspora technology in Nigeria. “You can imagine members of the diaspora coming back to Nigeria to invest in companies and building something global that solves problems”, he said.
And finally, to the question of which emerging technology presents the best opportunity for Nigerians, Jared noted that the real opportunity for Nigerians is having technological payment platforms, saying that Nigerians can do something very interesting with technology payment.
He ended by saying that there is a huge potential for Nigeria to be a leader in Africa in artificial intelligence, advocating for training for software engineer.
Like the other sessions, Jared Cohen’s fifteen minutes session was electrified with passion from the beginning to the end.