The Andela Experiment

The Andela Experiment

This is thought-provoking: the construct in Nigeria has been consistent – universities should educate, prepare and unleash to the economy competent graduates. But Andela has shown that doing just that ALONE is not enough. Yes, you can have all competent graduates (by global standards) but if there is no opportunity, they will not flourish. That explains why in a world where software developers are scarce, a company in Nigeria is firing hundreds! Simply, there needs to be opportunities before the agents of productivity can work! This Olumide Durotoluwa’s observation deserves deeper thoughts form policymakers! 

One of the arguments against the Nigerian education sector, is that they do not churn out the right talent. While this is very correct, but here, we see an educational firm, with a global market, producing the right talent, yet limited by the diminishing returns of marginal productivity. For a quick reminder, the law of diminishing marginal returns, states that when an advantage is gained in a factor of production, the marginal productivity will typically diminish, as production increases. On a macro level, this implies that, even if the Nigeria education system, churns out the right talents, without creating an economic opportunity for them, we will continue to experience the same problem.

Obviously, Nigeria has crossed the productivity threshold a long time ago, where an increase in labour force, can no longer bring the desired increase in economic productivity.  When productivity fails to grow significantly, it confines potential gains in wages, corporate profits and living standards. The resulting effects are underemployment, talent exodus, increase in the cost of education, etc.

Except the government, corporate organization, create an eco-structure, which can continue to absorb the increasing number of graduates, while at the same time, funding education, it will be difficult to make giant economic strides.

I must confess that his observation is deep.Have 20 Andelas in Nigeria but without opportunities, the brilliant geeks will stall, and possibly leave the nation. Simply, there is a limit a nation can get to without a strategic plan that harmonizes all elements at the same time. We cannot waltz into prosperity as a nation – broad strategic plan is imperative. 

You may think it is graduating brilliant graduates only to be thrown off that you have them, and will not know what to do with them. This is a huge (unexpected) discovery that Andela has provided for the nation. Let me call it the Andela Experiment: the availability of extremely brilliant and competent graduates without opportunities will not advance Nigeria, other factors are critical and required to make use of the graduates, and ensure they are not jobless!

The Andela Experiment needs more examination because it has shown that even the universities ALONE cannot save Nigeria, at least in the short-run.

The Andela Evolution – Fires 420 Engineers


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2 thoughts on “The Andela Experiment

  1. But we have been hammering on this for ages, when we talk about expanding the economy, what are we saying in essence? About two years ago, I made a comment on this platform where I stated thus: what we need is to bake a bigger cake, and then ask everyone to come with their own knives, to cut as much as they want. That ‘bigger cake’ is economic opportunities, without that, you are just drawing circles by over flogging the relevance of talents.

    There is so much talk about education, because we hope it liberates minds, to allow men and women to see the bigger picture, going ahead to create big opportunities for all. Illiterates don’t make policies, so for those who believe going to school is somewhat a waste of time; when you remember policymaking, you must think twice.

    If you produce 100 brilliant 1st class graduates, but there are only 10 slots to fix people; no amount of semantics acrobatics will prevent the remaining 90 from being jobless, it’s not about asking people to compete, you must first have something to be competed for.

    All those crafts and talents of yours will mean nothing, if we do not have policymakers with the necessary visioning capabilities, nation building and development is not for average minds.

    1. “If you produce 100 brilliant 1st class graduates, but there are only 10 slots to fix people;”
      Francis – thank you. I did not see it that way but this is something like an eye opening. The Andela data is real because no one can accuse these young people of not having skills.


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