BrandArena: Digital marketing in Africa: bringing much-needed skills to Nigeria’s youth

Wednesday 7 September 2022

Digital marketing in Africa: bringing much-needed skills to Nigeria’s youth

By Brian Abel - Team Lead, Greater Africa, Ad Dynamo by Aleph 

There is a huge demand for digital marketing skills around the world, hardly surprising in a vastly online world, in which the majority of people are considered to be permanently plugged in. In essence, if you’re not marketing to people digitally, you’re not really marketing to them at all. Considering this, it is astonishing just how big of a skills gap remains.

Prior to 2020, we already witnessed a wide digital marketing skill gap, and this has only increased in recent years thanks to the rapid digital transformation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, according to research by Salesforce and Rand Europe, the skill divide is so large that it could cause 14 G20 countries to lose out on US$11.5 trillion in cumulative GDP growth. Africa is not excluded from this growing divide either. Despite difficulties ascertaining the precise figures on digital marketing within Africa, it is worth noting that research from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) shows that some 230 million jobs across the continent will require digital skills by 2030. 

However, thankfully, within that same skill gap, there is a significant opportunity for young Africans and Nigerians. If young professionals are equipped with the necessary skills to succeed, especially within digital marketing, doors will begin to open for them. This will enable them to not only guide domestic businesses through their digital marketing transformations, but also become significant players on the global digital stage. 

The Importance of Digital Marketing Skills 

In order to understand the scale of the opportunity, it’s worth remembering that Nigeria’s GDP, already the largest in Africa, is set to reach US$450 billion in 2022, having returned to a growth trajectory post-COVID-19. Furthermore, increasingly large proportions of that economy are also either wholly digital or digitally enhanced. In fact, digital revenues in the country are expected to hit US$16.43 billion by 2025, up from US$11.38 billion this year. 

Moreover, it is also worth noting that only 51% of Nigeria’s population currently have internet access. However, as the infrastructure for connectivity becomes more ubiquitous and prices fall, that number will grow rapidly, and it is anticipated that 35 million additional Nigerians will be online by 2026. It is therefore clear that there remains plenty of room for growth within Nigeria’s economy, and in parallel, it will become increasingly important for both multinationals and home grown businesses to market themselves online. That in turn makes it critical to not only foster, but also grow digital marketing skills, and ensure that those companies have the best possible on-the-ground support. 

The Youth Opportunity

Fortunately, Nigeria already benefits from a booming young population, with the average age of 18, and many of which are digital natives, having grown up with mobile phones, and access to the internet. Therefore, having already been indoctrinated into the digital world, they are unafraid of technology, understand its potential to connect people with brands, and are eager to expand their knowledge.  

Therefore, by equipping Nigeria’s youth with in-demand digital marketing skills, it is possible to not only ensure success for business marketing, but also that these young professionals get the chance to enter high-growth industries with the promise of economic advancement.   This is undoubtedly critical in a country where unemployment for people aged 15 to 24 is as high as 53.4%.

Nevertheless, in order for any digital marketing skills initiative to make a tangible difference, it cannot be solely focused on providing young people just general skills. Thus, instead must ensure that everyone has the relevant skills needed to effectively market to people across the world's leading digital platforms, including Twitter, Snapchat, and Spotify.  This notion is in fact at the core of our commitments at Aleph Group. Our Digital Ad Expert Programme aims to educate, certify, and connect thousands of Africans with the digital skills needed to succeed in a rapidly digitising economy. 

Our aim is to create a generation of young people that are capable of driving their local digital economies to the next level.  

Beyond Marketing 

It is, of course, important to consider the additional benefits of these skills, as they will not only serve individuals who choose to pursue careers in marketing. In fact, the skills and certifications provided may also complement entrepreneurial enterprises or symbolize a diving board into the broader digital landscape, and thus, ultimately result in added developers, technicians, and well-rounded generalists crucial to building the digital economy. 

The digital opportunity in Nigeria is massive, it is therefore crucial that the country’s young generations are given the best possible chance to embrace it, and therefore equipping them with essential digital marketing skills may well be the best place to start. 

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