Entrepreneurs work to solve unemployment in Nigeria

Entrepreneurs work to solve unemployment in Nigeria

MIT graduates Adetayo Bamiduro and Chinedu Azodoh have created a business in Lagos that will employ Nigerians and deliver goods in less than three hours!

In the US, countless purchases are made online and shipped door to door relatively easily, but in places without zip codes and organization, like Nigeria, the process is infinitely more complicated. About 50 percent of package deliveries in Nigeria are late.

The e-commerce industry has grown substantially in Africa, but many parts of the cities aren’t mapped out on GPS, so delivery from the e-commerce transportation hub to the customer’s doorstep, or “last-mile delivery”, slows down the whole process.

Bamiduro and Azodoh created Metro Africa Xpress (MAX), an app to help deliveries reach customers faster. The app connects motorcyclists to e-commerce companies, and eases the last mile delivery with a combination of Google maps data and the motorcyclists’ street savvy.

These drivers are called “MAX Delivery Champions”, and as of March, the team of 23 has delivered an average of 150 packages a day in Lagos, delivering everything from passports to clothes to $200,000 in cash.

Some of these “champions” are married with kids. Some are migrants who fled other parts of Nigeria from the terrorist group, Boko Haram. All of them are paid twice the salary of any motorcycle dispatch service in Lagos, $200 a month or more.

Bamiduro and Azodoh have presented MAX as a commercial enterprise to investors, but they say they see it as a social impact company, as they try to reduce Nigeria’s high youth unemployment rate. Many of their drivers are receiving money directly into a bank account for the first time.

Bamiduro says working for MAX can help change the mindset of Africans: “The only way to eliminate poverty is to give people an opportunity to earn their money, not get handouts or freebies,” he says. “We want our drivers to know: It’s OK to be a MAX champion for now, but we want you to save money and say, in two years, get a college degree or a certification that allows you to get a white collar job.”

For Nigeria, he says, “We’re a stepping stone for a brighter future.”

Kidnapped schoolgirls to be released in upcoming ceasefire

Kidnapped schoolgirls to be released in upcoming ceasefire

NIGERIA–

After almost seven months, Nigeria’s government finally reached an agreement with the terrorist group which kidnapped approximately 200 schoolgirls. On October 17, officials announced that a ceasefire would commence and the girls will be released.

The Islamic militant group, Boko Haram, kidnapped the girls from their school dormitory in the northeast town of Chibok. A few of the girls have since been released or have managed to escape, while most remain in captivity.

Their capture sparked international protests. The hashtag #BringBackOurGirls circulated with thousands of followers, encouraging sympathetic persons worldwide to write and call local governments to bring attention to the crisis.

Meanwhile, officials prepare not only for the girls’ release, but plan to deal with the consequences of their endeavor – both physical and psychological.

“What is happening to the girls is an open secret: sexual abuse. We are preparing based on this assumption, which is almost a given,” Dr. Ratidzai Ndhlovu, the country representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), told BuzzFeed.

Specialists like Dr. Nihinlola Mabogunje, the country director of Ipas, an international health NGO, stressed the importance of continually assisting the girls and their families to ease their way back into society. The traditional culture of rural Nigeria often associates great stigmas with victims of sexual abuse. Officials are hoping to quench such imputations before they begin.

“Let the family be counseled on traumatic counseling for them to understand that the girls will be helped when they get out,” Mabogunje said in an interview with BuzzFeed.

For several weeks, health officials, United Nations agencies, and international organizations have been developing plans for helping the girls heal physically and emotionally.