Chinwe Okoli is An Author, Economist and a Public Policy Analyst, trained in Nigeria, the
United Kingdom and Israel. Well versed and experienced in the set up and management of
physical innovation hubs, digital innovation hubs, science parks, co-working spaces,
innovation districts, angel investment networks and thriving innovation/entrepreneurship
ecosystems. She has been trained by Facebook, African Development Bank, Ideon Science
Park, African Business Angels Network(ABAN) and International Association of Science
Parks and Areas of Innovation(IASP).
As a professional Economist and Public Policy Analyst, she understands the importance and therefore promotes innovation and entrepreneurship among the youth as a catalyst for sustainable development of Africa especially in the era of 4th industrial revolution. This is evidenced by her works in recent years.
To foster innovation and self development among the youth, Chinwe Founded Grand Africa Initiative (GAIN). A Pan-African Non-governmental organization on a mission to help African young men and women develop and harness their unique ideas, talents and abilities; working with them to unleash their full potentials in education, entrepreneurship and innovation through a unique Gather, Empower, Mentor and Monitor (GEMM) strategy. Through the GEMM strategy, GAIN drives digital inclusion in Africa.
She is a Coach, Mentor and Motivational Speaker with special interest in youth development, innovation and excellent performance. Moulding motivated and committed youth for a more reliable and predictable future is her Passion. This led her to found Grand Africa Initiative (GAIN) - a platform to help the youth thrive irrespective of daily challenges.
As a thought leader on youth, women, development, innovation and entrepreneurship, she has contributed her knowledge as a resource person to high-level policy influencing discussions at various events such as the Dakar Declaration 2019 hosted by the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Countries and participated and served a Guest speaker at national, regional and global events in Nigeria, Sweden, Iran, Ethiopia, France, United States, Senegal, Kenya, United Kingdom and Turkey.
Chinwe’s works on youth, women, development, innovation and entrepreneurship have been featured on live national TV stations, radio stations, national dailies and popular technology blogs with worldwide coverage.
She is a prolific writer and an author of two books titled-The Ladder to Academic Excellence; and A Daunting Odyssey (Both available on Amazon). She is an afro-optimist, committed to inspiring and helping fellow African youth reach their best by motivating, engaging and brainstorming with them to explore their unique talents, best success strategies and be part of the ‘Ones to Watch’ in Africa.
She holds a belief that when African youth from all over the world harness their full potentials and capabilities, we would build a safer, more economically advanced, more politically stable and rewarding Africa for all. Indeed a Grand Africa!
The youth are key stakeholders in charting the course of development of every nation. Just as
Benjamin Disraeli affirmed that “the Youth of a Nation are the trustees of posterity”, I believe that
building capable, competent and committed young people makes sustainable development
achievable. This should be top on the agenda of nations.
Understanding the current state of the youth requires us to answer pertinent questions to enable us plan for our desired future: Can the youth envision a future where they can play major roles? How prepared are the youth for the responsibility of leading future national, continental and global development? How ready are they to contribute substantially to the development of their households, communities, states, provinces and nations? What population of the youth today are capable of leading in various fields of endeavours? What values do many of the youth hold today? What are their interests? What are their predicaments? Are there obvious distractions? Are we concerned? Does Education play any role?
Are there possible solutions? Are we willing to lend a hand towards building our collective future? Or should we sit, watch and play the blame game? It is evident that while a handful of young people are doing great things around the world, millions of youth are sadly not even prepared to take responsibility for themselves, talk more of taking up societal responsibilities.
Many young people are yet to develop a sense of purpose; many easily jump on shortcuts and unsustainable easy paths to life; succumb to the get rich quick syndrome; yield easily to distractions, unable to articulate meaningful points on topical issues; tend to give up too easily; a great number of today’s young people are oblivious of developments around them; chasing shadows is now revered more than ever; good values are perceived to be outdated; negative mind-set is gradually getting hold of majority of the youth:
A lot of youth also dream big without taking concrete steps to actualize them. Interestingly, many young people are willing to explore their potentials, contribute to development but do not have the skills and the know-how. All these in the face of obvious systemic challenges. Many youth in school today do not even think that education can change their lives for good, they lose sight of the reason for being educated. Many graduate only to realise how much of their time they had wasted and then in many cases, their inabilities to achieve expected goals in the face of rising unemployment and stiffer competition result in hopelessness, frustration, depression, violence, social vices and insecurity.
The list is quite long but in the face of all these challenges, I agree with John Wooded that “young people need models, not critics”. At Grand Africa Initiative- GAIN, we gather, empower, mentor, and monitor the youth to navigate these challenges and let their best versions shine through.
GAIN was borne out of the quest to groom millions of capable, committed and determined youth in communities for all round development, peace and security. Growing up in a rural African Village, I understand first-hand, what the challenges are and having engaged with my fellow youth and younger people at various levels dealing with diverse issues, problems, difficulties and confusion,
I discovered that YES, Education-formal and informal- is the weapon which we can use to change our situations and the world just as Nelson Mandela said, Education empowers! We influence and mitigate the ugly trend through Grand Africa Initiative range of programs: targeted engagements, tailored empowerment programs, needs assessment, training, mentoring, capacity building, social interventions schemes, campaigns, Policy advocacy, competitions and counselling sessions. We can save millions of youth from destructive tendencies and help them become more responsible citizens and champions of development at all levels.
Grooming the youth in communities and cities to discover their unique talents, focus on their abilities, imbibe good values and stay determined to achieve their full potentials in spite of family and societal challenges will not only drastically reduce the spate of depression, frustration and consequent ills such as violence, social vices, insecurity, destruction and lack of development, but will also channel us towards higher individual self-fulfilment, economic output, good governance, sustainable development, safer and more peaceful nations for a better Africa and safer world.
If you imagine a continent of many GEMs, think, support and partner with Grand Africa Initiative. Together let’s Gather, Empower and Mentor millions of young people to explore their potential and be the best of themselves for the good of all.