Education is undergoing a remarkable transformation. While these transformation present unmistakable challenges to scholars on the continent, the promises are equally enormous!

If you’re a student in Africa today, you should be worried – very worried.


The robots are coming and they’re taking over the workplace!

Presently, factoryretail and repetitive manufacturing jobs are increasingly being automated to enhance efficiency. According to McKinsey, mortgage origination, paralegal work, accounting, and back-office transaction processing are categories of activities that increasingly can be done better and faster with machines. Further, automation will displace nearly 13 percent of South Africa’s current work activities by 2020. Ethiopia, one of Africa’s manufacturing hubs, is facing automation in several key employment sectors like agriculture and textiles. In Botswana, robot workers are increasingly diminishing the bargaining power of labor union. Accenture Nigeria predicts that within five years, more than half of consumers and enterprise clients will select products and services based on a company’s AI capacity, instead of its brand. On a global scale, the World Economic Forum predicts a net loss of five million jobs to AI by 2020.

These are interesting times for employers on the continent. With rapid demonetization in technology, a continuous redefinition of work and the preeminence of digital natives making once expensive products/services way cheaper — and sometimes free, employers across industries and regions are left with no option than to “innovate or die.” CNBC’s  October 8, 2018 publication chronicled 14 global brands that no longer need employees to have a college degree.

While these accelerated change and overwhelming complexities present unmistakable challenges to scholars on the continent, the promises are equally enormous. With that backdrop, this article seeks to help students and early career professionals prepare for the days ahead.

  • Create your own future with self-education

Selfeducation is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.Isaac Asimov, American writer, and professor

Nesa by makers on Unsplash

If you’re reading this, by now you’re aware of the fact that education systems around the world have not kept pace with the changing nature of work resulting in companies not being able to get access to skilled workers. Further, the ongoing dialogue in Davos has revealed that the growing disparities in incomes of families around the world is traceable to the education one gets. “Literacy is no longer about extracting knowledge but about constructing knowledge.” In short, knowledge has become the real form of money and power.

Although unemployment is still rife, digital tools like freelancing platforms and networking websites like LinkedIn are rewarding smart, talented professionals with jobs and business opportunities by the minute. And, these platforms are also helping us understand some of the highly prized skills for thriving in this age of automation.

Progressively, there has been a unanimous consensus on the fact that soft skills like communication, leadership and critical thinking are needed for navigating today’s world of work. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), “Soft skills—which are needed to effectively communicate, problem solve, collaborate and organize—are becoming more important for success as the workplace evolves socially and technologically.”

Hence, I strongly believe there needs to be a do-it-yourself approach to educating yourself today. If we could pay attention to choosing what we wear and what we eat, wouldn’t it make more sense to create our own direction? Doesn’t it make more sense to put your skills before you and manage them, instead of leaving it to chance?

Workers of the future will spend more time on activities that machines are less capable of, such as managing people, applying expertise, and communicating with others. The skills and capabilities required will also shift, requiring more social and emotional skills and more advanced cognitive capabilities, such as logical reasoning and creativity. – McKinsey & Company

Today, our challenge is not scarcity of information – we live in a world of super-abundant information – the real challenge is in excavating the right knowledge to help you remain relevant. Therefore, you can no longer wait to see what happens. Take advantage of the abundantly free and low-priced materials around us and prune your talents! Moreover, as the shelf-life of skills continues to shrink, if you’re not progressively improving your competencies, you will be left behind. According to LinkedIn, 90% of executives say that talent is the number one priority at their companies. Subscribe to get started with a personalized education on Readyforwork Career Coaching Program.


  • Learn how to learn new knowledge and skills

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. — Alvin Toffler,  American writer, futurist, and businessman

Image result for gif about learning

To begin with, these six guides shared by Michael Simmons can help you master any skill, and put you at a position of advantage in today’s digital economy:

  1. Identify valuable knowledge at the right time. With maturity and reshape of technology across industries, he says, there is often a deficit of people with the needed skills, which creates the potential for high compensation.
  2. Learn and master that knowledge quickly. Opportunity windows are not static, therefore, you have to spot the trends as quickly as possible.
  3. Communicate the value of your skills to others. Two people equally skilled at the same craft could earn very different salaries and fees. It all depends on their ability to sell and market themselves. Says Simmons, many people spend years mastering an underlying technical skill and almost no time mastering this multiplier skill.
  4. Convert knowledge into money and results. The value of information is the ability to use it and enrich your life.  Don’t just learn to have information, get value for your education by applying it in “finding and getting a better job, getting a raise, building a successful business, selling your knowledge as a consultant, and building your reputation by becoming a thought leader.”
  5. Learn how to financially invest in learning to get the highest return. “Each of us needs to find the right “portfolio” of books, online courses, and certificate/degree programs to help us meet our goals within our budget,” Simmons says. If knowledge equals capital, then it makes sense to apply financial intelligence to your education.
  6. Master the skill of learning how to learn. Simmons stressed that our learning rate determines how quickly we can compound information over time. “Consider someone who reads and retains one book a week versus someone who takes 10 days to read a book. Over the course of a year, a 30% difference compounds to one person reading 85 more books.”

In her article entitled The Protégé Effect, Annie Murphy Paul, the author of Origins, gave a brilliant account of how teaching what you learned is the best form of learning. “Students enlisted to tutor others… work harder to understand the material, recall it more accurately and apply it more effectively. In what scientists have dubbed “the protégé effect,” student teachers score higher on tests than pupils who are learning only for their own sake,” she wrote.

To quote Andreas Schleicher, Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills, OECD, “we used to learn to do the work, now learning IS the work.

  • Transcend your environment

With the rising digitization in today’s world and the ubiquity of the internet, ignorance is no longer acceptable. Tony Elumelu, Founder, The Tony Elumelu Foundation and Group Chairman, UBA Group

Tony Elumelu engages associates of the Nigeria Leadership Initiative (NLI) in an interactive session

When I was in college, I always told my colleagues that the competition we’d face in the job market is not from students in Ghana but those elsewhere like Europe, America and so on. I always thought that we now live in a global village and internet penetration has removed most of the barriers. Therefore, you can longer assume that all you see in your immediate environment is all. That is the reason I left Nigeria to come to Ghana for my college education.

In the last few months, several headhunters from around the world (especially, India) looking to fill different roles have reached out to me on LinkedIn. The internet has given talent professionals access to a tremendous pool of candidates, thereby shifting the resource pool from industry or location to a higher-quality global population.

If your college or workplace does not have that form of global perspective, you can transcend your environment. It’s your responsibility to immerse yourself in global conversations. Don’t limit yourself to your coursework or job description. Don’t be hemmed-in by society, location or nationality. Create your own reality, develop your voice and find your place in the world.

Here’s an idea: Make out time to take part in community events and programs. Be part of a cause that’s bigger than yourself. If you cannot find an organization that serves your purpose, can you form one?

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from; it doesn’t matter whether you’re 24 or 42, if you have the skills for the future of work and know how to market it, you’ll win! In a time when many people are complaining about not finding work, I know several others who have more jobs than they can handle.

As I write this, software developer training and outsourcing company, Andela, just announced a $100 million Series D round funding to further scale their program. If you asked me, what is education today? I’d say it’s an ability to take ownership of your aspirations and grow in confidence that yields success. I believe we’re in an “alternative education” era when education is no longer about degrees or accolades. It’s about developing the capacity to solve problems – and getting adequate consideration in that process. Education today is a reprogramming of the mind.

Stop complaining; no one is listening. Take control of your life. You’ve got this!

Get started with a personalized education on Readyforwork Career Coaching Program.

About the Author

Tom-Chris✨ #Readyforwork
Tom-Chris Emewulu is the President & Founder of SFAN. He is an education enthusiast, entrepreneurship and career coach, a consultant at Mastercard Foundation, Seedstars Ambassador for Ghana and an aspiring venture capitalist. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

If you enjoyed reading this article, consider sharing it so that others can find it! To get more inspiring contents like this in your inbox subscribe to our mailing list.

If Africa’s children are educated and equipped with the skills to succeed in the twenty-first-century economy, the entire continent will prosper. But if they are denied a quality education, Africa’s economic progress will be slowed, stunted, or even thrown into reverse. – Strive Masiyiwa, Founder of Econet Wireless

NIGERIA – On October 25, I had the privilege of representing SFAN at the Tony Elumelu Foundation Forum 2018 where 5,000 entrepreneurs, business leaders and heads of states gathered to discuss various topics around economic development across Africa. I was opportune to be one of the select marketplace vendors that hosted the President of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo and the Founder of Tony Elumelu Foundation, Mr. Tony Elumelu.

The meeting gave me the opportunity to share my thoughts on how to fix Ghana’s education system with both men. This article is trying to extend that conversation.

If you have followed the ongoing dialogue about the state of higher education in Africa, then you’re aware that there’s an urgent need for rethinking the entire framework of Africa’s education systems. The handwriting on the wall is crystal clear: by 2050, Africa will be home to a billion young people. The continent’s future – and perhaps that of the world – hinges on investments in human capital. Regrettably, as it stands, all sub-Saharan Africa countries perform worse than the global average of the human capital index.

While there has been an incremental economic growth on the continent, the stack reality is that majority of African students are not learning the skills that can make them competitive in the digital world. And if this trend continues, our future generation will be a lost cause.

The good news is: we have a window of opportunity to avert this catastrophe. Apart from drastically raising education financing from the current meager 10%  (which, thankfully, the education commission is taking a bold step to accomplish), there are three important areas that need immediate attention for fixing the state of higher education in Africa.

To be perfectly clear, this agenda will need bold thinking as well as a refusal to settle for things as they are. Fixing higher education in Africa will equally need multi-stakeholder collaboration.

Over the past five years, a greater part of our work at SFAN has centered on creating programs and events that bring together stakeholders from business, academia, government, media, and civil society. The goal: to spur new pathways for equipping young people with skills that can help them thrive in the  21st-century economy. Our extensive research and survey of the root causes of youth unemployment in Africa show:

  • a mismatch of skills between labor market need and education
  • insufficient employment opportunities, and
  • lack of access to support services and available opportunities.

This important disconnect inspired us to set up Readyforwork Career Coaching Program; empowering the youth to take ownership of their career aspirations and grow in confidence that yields success. With a ready workforce, employers on the African continent need a upskilled talent to take advantage of the economic boom.

Obviously, the future of work will not be about college degrees but about job skills. Quite frankly, I think the current education system has outlived its purpose. CNBC recently compiled a list of top employers that no longer require employees to have a college degree. Simply put, we are moving into an era of an alternative education system.

It is not my intention to propagate a conspiracy theory but I know where the current education framework came from. Over one hundred years ago, factory owners that didn’t have enough compliant factory workers invented the system. Therefore, it made sense to arrange kids in rows, tell them what to think and make them compete for grades. And it worked excellently for over 100 years before technology disrupted the work environment.

A hundred years later, automation and robots have taken over many factory jobs, and collaboration has become more important than competition. The problem is: many schools in Africa are still stuck in the archaic mode of teaching and their curriculum has not kept pace with the changing nature of work.

Yet, programs like SFAN’s Readyforwork are rethinking the process by giving every gift an equal chance through personalized education. We are leveraging data to curate contents that tailored to the needs of learners instead of a one-size-fits-all system.

Nevertheless, if we trained every job seeker, there are not enough jobs to absorb them.

The numbers clearly show that while about 10 to 12 million youth enter the workforce each year, only 3.1 million jobs are created.

Consequently, there’s a pressing need to unlock entrepreneurial potentials of young people for job creation. Governments and development agencies are progressively acknowledging the fact that “Africa’s young people could enrich not only this continent but the world economy and society at large.”

Like I told President Akufo-Addo, this is why initiatives like the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Program is of vital importance!

Our coaching program also serves the need of helping young people acquire the entrepreneurial mindset and real-world exposure that help them to take ownership of their aspirations for success.

Now comes the third aspect of fixing higher education in Africa: giving young people access to mentors and opportunities to engage the real world. Experts have said that mentorship is one of the smartest investments you can make in your business or career. Mentorship helps young people gain direction and navigate the digital world.

For the last several years, I have worked with different companies in finding the top ten percent of entry-level job seekers. One significant thing I’ve noticed is that many job seekers lack job awareness skills. A good mentorship program helps learners to gain job awareness and exposure to the world of work.

In conclusion, the economic case for investing in Africa’s human capital is that it is the continent’s most important resource and the surest way of ending poverty on the continent.

I agree with Strive Masiyiwa, “if Africa’s children are educated and equipped with the skills to succeed in the twenty-first-century economy, the entire continent will prosper. But if they are denied a quality education, Africa’s economic progress will be slowed, stunted, or even thrown into reverse.”

Clearly, countries like Finland and Singapore are quite ahead of the curve by “giving more time to exercises that will involve a synthesis of knowledge from various subject areas.”

This is the moment for Africa’s youth!

Donate to our crowdfunding campaign to help us scale our career coaching program through a talent accelerator that will unlock the employment and entrepreneurship potentials of indigent youth at zero upfront cost.

About the Author

Tom-Chris✨ #Readyforwork
Tom-Chris Emewulu is the President & Founder of SFAN. He is an education enthusiast, entrepreneurship and career coach, a consultant at Mastercard Foundation, Seedstars Ambassador for Ghana and an aspiring venture capitalist. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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By: Joseph-Albert Kuuire, Creator, and Editor of TechNovaGh

Stars From All Nations (SFAN) is hosting their Student Entrepreneurship Week at British Council and Kempinski Hotel on the 26th to 28th of July, 2018.

Tech Nova is doing a series of interviews with some speakers coming to the event. Our first interview featured Samuel Mensah, Senior Designer at McKinsey Digital, and the subsequent one featured Gina Kloes,  an Award Winning Author, Game Changer, Leadership Expert, & Peak Performance Strategist.

Our third interview features the international speaker, Damilola Thompson.


Damilola Thompson

Damilola Thompson is Corporate Counsel of EchoVC Pan-Africa Fund. Before this, she worked for a top-tier law firm in Lagos, Nigeria for over 3 years, with core competencies in Corporate, Venture Capital and Private Equity transactions. During this period, she drove seed/early-stage financing transactions for startups and represented African and international investors.

Ms. Thompson is passionate about startups and venture financing and providing early-stage companies with much-needed mentorship required for scaling. She has a graduate degree from the University of Lagos and has completed various post-graduate courses including the Kauffman Fellows Academy’s course on venture capital. She is a member of the Nigeria Bar Association, an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, United Kingdom and a member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria.


Tech Nova(TN)It would appear that a number of students coming out of universities are opting to be more entrepreneurial by starting their own businesses rather than opt for the 9 – 5 desk job. Why do you think that is?

Damilola Thompson: I think there is general interest by young people to be different and stand out, and quite a number of success stories that inspire youths to be the best they can be. In most cases, a major part of their thinking about entrepreneurship is misguided and flawed, in that some believe success should be immediate and easily achievable, and when that does not happen, they get discouraged or lose hope. But those who stay in there, slugging it out and constantly reiterating their businesses, emerge as winners.

WAEC has become to a hit or miss target for students so much that it has become a routine to gain admission to a higher institution. A number of the educational institutions do not educate students around solutions that solve our everyday challenges neither is the education sufficiently practicable that it can be implemented into our daily lives

Tech Nova (TN)Some would say that young people are just seeing entrepreneurship as a way of just making money instead of actually trying to solve problems in their environment. Do you agree/disagree with that statement and why

Damilola Thompson: As I earlier mentioned, I think it may be a mix of both. For example, some youths want to be entrepreneurs because they see how wealthy Kwadwo Kantanka is and therefore aspire to be as wealthy, while some are really looking to solve societal challenges and are looking for ways to make things better. While I do not see anything wrong with being an entrepreneur and having a mindset to make money, that should not be the only driving force, because when things run aground and the business seems challenging, and it will, such people will fall by the way.

TN: The current education system in Ghana does not appear to be teaching students how to sell or be marketable. The system is still stuck on the “Chew and Pour” concept where students memorize just to pass exams. If you could, what would you add to their current curriculum to make students more competitive when they come out of school?

DT: This is not just a problem in Ghana, it is also the same in Nigeria and most West African countries. WAEC has become a hit or miss target for students so much that it has become a routine to gain admission to a higher institution. A number of the educational institutions do not educate students around solutions that solve our everyday challenges neither is the education sufficiently practicable that it can be implemented into our daily lives. For practical steps in reforming our education system, I would suggest institutions focus and teach the latest Information Technology education from primary school up to the first year of College/university and then make it optional for all other years, inculcate vocational skills training into the curriculum, promote sportsmanship by encouraging communal efforts in tackling societal issues.

TNWhere do you see Ghana in the next 5 years in terms of entrepreneurship? Will we be seeing more successful startups being funded? Will schools and universities be more open to starting entrepreneurship courses? What are your thoughts on the matter?

DT: I believe the wave of entrepreneurship will see more entrepreneurs solving actual and real problems, and with that comes exposure, press, and funding because good businesses attract funders and the right talent. This will, therefore, drive institutions to see entrepreneurship as a course that needs to be taught and practiced, in order to remain unique and differentiate themselves from other institutions. Institutions who are not teaching this course will seem outdated and out of touch with reality, and eventually may lose relevance.

TN: What are you hoping that the Student Entrepreneurship week event hosted by Stars From All Nations (SFAN) will achieve?

DT: I certainly hope that as many more organizations like SFAN engage youths to develop their entrepreneurial skills and create awareness about the possibilities of entrepreneurship, there will be a proliferation of innovation and development of a solution-driven society, which is required for Africa to thrive.

Come and meet investors at the Student Entrepreneurship Week at British Council and Kempinski Hotel. You can get tickets at the event website.

This article is part of SFAN x Tech Nova Collaboration towards Student Entrepreneurship Week Ghana and was first published on TechNova.

Concerning the ability to study, there’s an old saying that if you want to hide something from an African, put it in a book.

Hilarious, right?!

Well…even though that statement might not be entirely true, I think that many of us struggle with studying – especially in this age of social media, automation, and twerk videos.

But as any successful entrepreneur or corporate executive will tell you, reading is of vital importance. The reason is that reading makes your mind receptive to fresh thoughts and ideas, it refines and nuances your thinking process.

If you want to learn how to change your study habits and consume more quality contents, this article has incredibly useful tips that can change your life!

So, let’s walk through the process, shall we?

How to Study Effectively: Simple Tricks You Should Know

  1. Find a pattern that works for you

In 2012, while studying for my B.Sc., I listened to a certain lecturer tell an interesting story of his personal experiences as a student.

When you’re a freshman still figuring out what the courses were and so on, those are the kind of stories that get your attention the most. Frankly, his story was quite fascinating because what he told us was at cross purposes with what a lot of us believed was the secret to getting good grades in college.

He would read for a brief period at night and in the daytime, he said, he would simply coast along with everyone else. To his classmates, he was just another lousy student until the day his name came out as the best graduating student!

The story made an impact on me and I decided to figure out how to navigate the system as well.  I realized that attending classes was my best bet in keeping track of things. Hence, I made conscious efforts to take notes at each lecture. The rest is history because I graduated with a First while building a start-up.

The moral of the story?

Find out what works for you and follow it. Some people are never satisfied until they’ve read the textbooks 5x cover-to-cover. If that is you, maybe you can structure your reading period to be more than your class participation to the extent that the rules allow.

Illustration by Alex Green

  1. Create a schedule and stick to it

Having a reading schedule is very vital.

Create your schedule in such a way that you don’t start reading when you’re already tired. Also, your reading session doesn’t have to be a long period. You can create a break session in-between the schedule so that your brain gets refreshed.

Most people have this idea that until you’ve read for a very long time, you cannot digest much information. On the contrary, experts have discovered that reading for a long time in a stretch does not necessarily add to your learning.

The attention span of an average reader is about 25 minutes, and any reading activity longer than that is a waste. So, let’s say you have like most students do, a timetable that says you need to study for one hour every weekday. It’s advisable to create short breaks after every 25 – 30 minutes instead of sitting on the desk for one-hour staring at open pages without assimilating anything.

Furthermore, creating a study schedule helps you maintain consistency with your learning. The more consistent you make your reading reschedule, the more habitual and less of a struggle it becomes.

  1. Create an environment that works for you, not against you

How many times have you found yourself in this type of situation:

You promise yourself that tonight, you are going to read like never!

You have everything ready; the phone is on silent, school bag is off the way, and armed with three different colors of highlighters, you sit on one edge of the bed and open your textbook with a serious reading posture.

Ten minutes later, you catch yourself nodding. You step off, watch your face, get back and reposition yourself with a new game face on.

Five minutes later, your bed starts whispering into your ear again, “Jaaanne come sleep on meeeee.”

Begrudgingly, you promise yourself that things will be different tomorrow. So, you put all the stuff away and you doze off.

A familiar experience, right?

Sure, many of us have been there at one point.

Your environment plays a key role in how fruitful your reading time becomes. A bed is primarily for resting and not for reading. If your bedroom is the same as your reading room, make sure your reading table is placed in such a way that you can sit with your back towards your bed. That way, you’re able to concentrate on the task at hand.

Create an environment that helps you focus – turn off the TV, put your phone on silent mode and turn down the volume of your stereo. You can’t be humming to a song on the radio and expect to concentrate on your reading, it’s never going to happen!

Some people have also found that placing motivational quotes at strategic positions in the reading section helps them commit to their schedule. Ultimately, your role is to create conditions that help you make the most of the session.

  1. Engage in participatory learning

Many of us learn by rote – we just memorize facts without understanding the concepts behind them. It’s what students call “shew and pour”. i.e You memorize things to reproduce the same during exams.

People that study like that are usually bored out of their minds when they sit down to read. Reading can be more than a session for memorizing things.

Robert Chambers, a British academic and development practitioner, described Participatory Learning as an adaptive learning strategy that enables people to learn, work and act together in a co-operative and democratic way.

This is where ideas like discussion classes and study groups originate from – to create an environment where people can collaboratively immerse themselves in the subjects they are learning. The process of participation fosters mutual learning and knowledge sharing. The warning, however, is that you make sure there is mutual respect among group members and that meeting is organized strategically to avoid growing weary of each other.

Facts Vs Concepts

A fact is something known to be true, a piece of information while a concept is “an abstract idea generalized from particular instances or evidence, so involves an inductive process or thought.” Facts are things we memorized while concepts are things we understood.

The reason many people often forget what they read is that they didn’t understand it, they only memorized it. The moment you understand it, it becomes a present-hour knowledge. So, focus on understanding the concept of the subject, and then build your own argument around it.

The reading comprehension formula

During World War II, droves of army people were sent to colleges and universities to attend intensive training in skills relevant to winning the war.  Professor of Psychology, Francis Pleasant Robinson, headed the Learning and Study Skills program at Ohio State University (OSU), and based on his research, he devised the “SQ3R method” and other techniques to help military personnel to learn specialized skills in as little time as possible. In his commentary, ahead of Veteran’s Day in 2002, Thomas G. Sticht called it “The reading formula that helped win World War II”.

How does it work?

SQ3R stands for:

S: Survey (the book/a chapter to get an overview)

Q: Question (ask one or more questions for each section in a chapter)

R: Read (and mentally answer the questions)

R: Recite (recall the answers to a section’s questions from your memory and write them down)

R: Review (a complete chapter, by answering the chapter’s questions from your memory)

Ask help from your Professor

Another participatory learning method is to get help from your lecturer. Asking for help/clarifications from your teacher is always a smart thing to do – it shows that you’re interested in the subject and helps you learn what you missed.

Teach what you learned

Finally, be quick to teach what you’ve learned. They say that if you can’t teach it, you haven’t learned it. So, find the opportunity to share your knowledge even if you don’t have all the answers yet. If you can’t find anyone to teach, consider starting a blog. You will realize that the more you teach, the more you learn. As James Clear has remarked, successful people start before they feel ready. The same is the case for teaching. And if you choose to start a blog, you will also be building a valuable audience, credibility and resource center.


I wish I could tell you that if you picked a few of the key elements above, you will completely overhaul your learning experience. But the reality is, you won’t.

It’s a complete package kind of thing, and you need to work on all the tips in the article. Surely, acting on some is better than acting on none, but the goal is to make the best of your study time and make learning enjoyable.

What other tips do you have for studying effectively? Drop them in comments.

Tom-Chris✨ #Readyforwork
Tom-Chris Emewulu is the President & Founder of SFAN. He is an education enthusiast, entrepreneurship and career coach, a consultant at Mastercard Foundation, Seedstars Ambassador for Ghana and an aspiring venture capitalist. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Image Credits: iam Se7en, Rebeccamoch, Alex Green

Whether you are building a business or a career, there are times when you need a second voice in reinforcing your ideas or echoing your claims. That’s why you need quotes.

In the words of former Swiss Volleyball player and author of 100 Inspirational Quotes, Michel F. Bolle, “inspirational quotes are important because they activate an emotional pulse point in our hearts and minds when we are in a distressing situation. The right quote can help us to see light at the end of the tunnel, and give us that extra burst of hope and courage to persevere.”

Therefore, we ferreted out 40 powerful quotes from some of the most celebrated African leaders to help you get through any day.

                     Folorunsho Alakija, Vice Chair of Famfa Oil

· I never went to a university, and I am proud to say so because I don’t think I have done too badly.

· You need to decide what you want to achieve. Get rid of naysayers — those who say to you that you can’t do it. Never allow anyone to tell you it can’t be done. In my dictionary, ‘can’t’ doesn’t exist.

· You need to believe in your dream. Don’t give up when things get tough, just hang in there, stay focused and be patient.

· We have grown past the stage of fairy-tale. As women, we have one common front and that is to succeed. We have to take the bull by the horn and make the change happen by ourselves.

· It’s essential to draw up a “things to do” list on a daily basis and set priorities in executing them, making sure that any unfinished task gets posted to the next day’s list.

                                 Strive Masiyiwa, Executive Chairman & Founder of the Econet Group

· Whether you’re a farmer, builder or engineer, the opportunities are equal: Just add a little innovation.

· A vision on its own is not enough. Hard work & dedication is required to make that vision a reality.

· If you are working or you are running a business you have to set aside time and money to invest in your continued formal education and skills acquisition.

· You have to be very methodical in breaking down, the reason why something is successful. Most often it is not as simple as it looks.

· I started in business when I was 25 years old, with only $75, pooled between myself and a friend. We went around the suburbs fixing broken lights, and gates. We invested every cent, into doing bigger and bigger projects. For me, nothing has really changed in terms of those basic principles: you start with what you have, you do what you can, you invest what you get so that you can do bigger and bigger things.

   Lupita Nyong’o, Kenyan-Mexican Actress

· You can’t eat beauty, it doesn’t sustain you. What is fundamentally beautiful is compassion, for yourself and those around you. That kind of beauty inflamed the heart and merchants the soul.

· No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.

· What I will say is that what I have learned for myself is that I don’t have to be anybody else; and that myself is good enough; and that when I am being true to that self, then I can avail myself to extraordinary things. You have to allow for the impossible to be possible.

· You fail, and then what? Life goes on. It’s only when you risk failure that you discover things.

· We don’t get to pick the genes we want. There’s room in this world for beauty to be diverse.

                       Tony Elumelu, Founder, The Tony Elumelu Foundation & Chairman, UBA.

· Today we may appear young and people may not believe in us but we are going to compel them to believe in us through our achievement.

· Your idea can transform Africa. Let’s stop talking and let’s start doing.

· A true leader is one who remains committed to a higher purpose that most others do not yet see. I have studied great people and one common thing I found among them is Legacy.

· Let us remind ourselves of the power of individuals and what potent capacities and opportunities lie in this. No one, but us will develop Africa.

· People management is key. Learn how to motivate your people. Be painstaking in choosing the right people.

                       Chimamanda Adichie, Nigerian writer, speaker, and Activist

· I think you travel to search and you come back home to find yourself there.

· Of course, I am not worried about intimidating men. The type of man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the type of man I have no interest in.

· If you don’t understand, ask questions. If you’re uncomfortable about asking questions, say you are uncomfortable about asking questions and then ask anyway. It’s easy to tell when a question is coming from a good place. Then listen some more. Sometimes people just want to feel heard. Here’s to possibilities of friendship and connection and understanding.

· Never ever accept ‘Because You Are A Woman’ as a reason for doing or not doing anything.

· They themselves mocked Africa, trading stories of absurdity, of stupidity, and they felt safe to mock, because it was a mockery born of longing, and of the heartbroken desire to see a place made whole again.

    Patrick Awuah, Founder, and President of Ashesi University College

· The people who have taken oaths and made promises, to be leaders and guardians of society, instead have disgraced us. I am challenging you to be the generation that can restore Africa’s honour.

· The ability to confront complex problems, and to design solutions to those problems; the ability to create is the most empowering thing that can happen to an individual.

· I think the current and future leaders of Africa have an incredible opportunity to drive a major renaissance on the continent. I believe that Africa has reached an inflection point with the march of democracy and free market across the continent. We have reached a moment from which can emerge a great society within one generation and it will depend on inspired leadership.

· It took a little bit of naivety to get started. I did not know how hard it was going to be. I think you just have to have this incredible confidence.

· I did have a lot of naysayers in Ghana but I didn’t have a lot of naysayers in America… when I decided to quit Microsoft people said ‘hey’ this is a great idea, this is what life is all about you have to chase your dreams and when you are ready to call us and we will see what we can do.

          Rapelang Rabana, South African Technology Entrepreneur and Founder of Rekindle Learning

· Skills and business knowledge will only take you so far, your principles, values, as well as your personal growth outside the business, matter more than just what you know.

· The more congruent the business is to who you are as an individual and what you value, the deeper your capacity to persevere and outlast.

· It is important to be close to the people and things that anchor you. For me, it’s my parents, my family, my close friends to have a laugh with. Being reminded of who you are, and regardless of the circumstances, that someone thinks you are great.

· If you don’t know why you are doing it, you will battle to make the kind of long-term commitment that will see you through the challenges.

·Not everyone realizes that by not choosing, life chooses for you and that is never the ideal outcome. Those who become great are deliberately creating their life path as opposed to allowing life to happen to them.

    Aliko Dangote, Nigerian billionaire, and owner of the Dangote Group

· Endeavor to work as hard as possible to attain a new aim with each day that comes by. Don’t go to bed until you have achieved something productive.

· I built a conglomerate and emerged the richest black man in the world in 2008 but it didn’t happen overnight. It took me 30 years to get to where I am today. Youths of today aspire to be like me but they want to achieve it overnight. It’s not going to work. To build a successful business, you must start small and dream big. In the journey of entrepreneurship, a tenacity of purpose is supreme.

· In whatever you do, strive to be the best at it.

· If you don’t have ambition, you shouldn’t be alive.

· Every morning when I wake up, I make up my mind to solve as many problems, before retiring home.

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SFAN (Stars From All Nations) has partnered with Brave Venture Labs to help about 300 entry-level job seekers improve their employability chances at Quantum Leap Career Fair 2017.

Date: April 12, 2017

Venue: British Council, Accra

Time: 09:00 am to 04:00pm GMT

Quantum Leap Career Fair is SFAN’s pioneering annual career fair organized to connect the hiring needs of employers with the employment needs of job-seekers. This edition will create a space for some of the best and brightest industry leaders and recruiters in Ghana to share deep insights on the impact of technology on the future of work in Africa.

It is estimated that some 65% of children entering primary schools today will likely work in roles that don’t currently exist. According to a McKinsey study, many activities that workers carry out today could be automated.

What to expect:

  • Meet with employers in an informal setting and learn more about jobs and internship opportunities offered by their companies
  • Participate in one-on-one mentoring & C.V review sessions
  • Take industry generated employability skills assessment
  • Walk away with actionable game plan to upgrade your skills for the work of the future

According to Tom-Chris Emewulu, the Founder & President of SFAN:

“When we started SFAN, it was a move to provide the almost non-existent education to employment/entrepreneurship pipeline and help young people live to their full potentials. That is the purpose the Quantum Leap Career Fair seeks to satisfy. This year’s edition is of vital importance because we’d be introducing, a web platform that will help firms access the top 10% of Ghanaian young workforce and help aspiring entrepreneurs unlock their entrepreneurial potentials. Our goal is to equip 1M youths with skills for ‘work of the future’ and entrepreneurship by 2020”.

Participation is free, but you must be pre-booked as available spaces are limited. Make your registrations by clicking here. The Keynote and Panel sessions will be streamed live on SFAN Facebook page.

As a business owner, this is a huge opportunity to get access to the right type audience, sorted to fill your company’s needs. If you’re interested in becoming a sponsor, securing a booth stand or have questions, concerns or comments, please e-mail SFAN.

About SFAN:

SFAN is a high impact social enterprise that bridges the gap between education and work. The organization was established with a precise vision to raise the next generation of African leaders through the accomplishment of the following goals:

  • Help young people have a smooth transition from education to work through mentorship, capacity development, and job/internship placement
  • Offer opportunities for youths to turn their passion into a business or career by creating platforms for networking, incubation, and funding
  • Build a community of change agents and doers.

Through innovative projects, products and programs, SFAN provide the missing links for youth development, education and entrepreneurship thereby contributing to building a self-sustained Africa.

What we did recently:

SFAN has been accepted into the prestigious Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) 2017. Hint: Last name under country, Ghana.

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