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Aiding Emerging Markets and Serving People with Grace with Iyinoluwa Aboyeji
Episode 51st June 2020 • Charter Cities Podcast • Kurtis Lockhart
00:00:00 01:08:33

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The Nigerian economy is complex and multilayered, with many opportunities and hurdles for its people. Joining us on the show today to discuss the economic landscape of Nigeria, the charter city project of Talent City in Calabar, and what it really means to provide opportunities to the Nigerian people, is entrepreneur Iyinoluwa Aboyeji! We have a fascinating discussion around the ways the Nigerian market operates and the types of entrepreneurship and business-mindedness that are found in the country. Iyinoluwa sheds light on what he calls survivalist entrepreneurialism and explains a few different perspectives on Nigerian aspiration inside and outside of the country. One of the most notable points that our guest makes is the stark difference between the American concept of monopolies and Nigerian 'competition trees'. From there, our conversation turns to Iyinoluwa's own professional experiences and work at Andela and Flutterwave. We also get into his education and faith before looking at the political picture in Nigeria and what this means for young business owners. We discuss the Chinese presence in Africa, feelings about this, and of course the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The last part of our conversation is spent unpacking Iyinoluwa's work on the Talent City Project and his hopes for this new charter city! Intended as a specialized tech hub away from over-crowded Lagos, Iyinoluwa hopes to attract young talent to the new space soon, with remote work being a big draw for the model. For this great chat with Iyinoluwa, be sure to join us on the Charter Cities Podcast, today!

Key Points From This Episode:

•   The entrepreneurial spirit in Nigeria; the influence of the emerging market and a large population.

•   Competition trees and the spread of resources and opportunity in Nigerian business.

•   Nigerian-American professional trajectories and entrepreneurial side-hustles.

•   Iyinoluwa's experience founding Andela and the initial idea behind the company.

•   Cultural education and soft-skills at Andela and how they used improv for these purposes.

•   Iyinoluwa's thoughts on finding and hiring talent and his work at Flutterwave.

•   Pitching Nigerian companies in the US and the right way to communicate this.

•   The growth of Nigerian and African companies that can extend into the US and European markets.

•   The influence that Iyinoluwa's faith has played in his entrepreneurial pursuits.

•   Iyinoluwa's entrepreneurial advice around providing dependability in the face of failing political systems

•   Ethnic divisions in Nigeria and how this plays into power structures in the country.

•   Age demographics in Nigeria and the aspirations and realizations of the current youth. 

•   The Chinese influence in Nigeria and the perception of this among locals.

•   The pandemic in Nigeria and considering the effects of COVID-19 in emerging markets.

•   Lasting implications on dropping oil prices for African economies.

•   Considering different models for charter cities in Nigeria and how they would operate.

•   Government and leadership in Lagos; managing the challenges of infrastructure and congestion.

•   Iyinoluwa's role in the development of Yaba in Lagos and the lesson he carries forward.

•   The vision for the design of Talent City; a charter city for harnessing tech talent.

•   Initial pushes for new residents and the intended strategy for filling Talent City.

•   The remote work model and thinking about the impact of the current health crisis.

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Iyinoluwa Aboyeji

Iyinoluwa Aboyeji on Twitter

Iyinoluwa Aboyeji TEDx Talk







University of Waterloo

Velocity Program


Peter Thiel


Atomic Labs


Jeremy Johnson


Lambda School





Jack Ma

Koch Brothers

Donald Trump

Belt and Road

The Guardian

University of Lagos

Charter Cities Institute

Mark Lutter

Charter Cities Institute on Twitter

Charter Cities Institute on Facebook




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