Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa, has been unable to efficiently tackle its increasing unemployment rate – a ticking time bomb, if not addressed quickly. In 2020, the frontier market witnessed a rise in its unemployment rate, due to an ever-growing dependent population, reduction in the total output of goods and services, and the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, which negatively impacted the economy and led to job loss for thousands of Nigerians.
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed that:
- Nigeria’s unemployment rate as at 2020 Q2 reached 27.1% — indicating that about 21,764,614 (21.7 million) Nigerians are unemployed.
- Also, 13.9 million Nigerian youths are unemployed.
- Youths between 15-24 years constituted the highest unemployment rate, 40.8%; followed by youths between 25 – 34 years, 30.7%.
Such unimpressive economic data can be curbed, if Nigerian regulators and stakeholders tap into the potentials inherent in cryptos, to further strengthen the development of Africa’s largest economy.
Cryptocurrencies can help tackle the numerous challenges faced in international trade by many Nigerians, who don’t have a bank account. With the help of blockchain technology, many unemployed Nigerians can utilize the tools behind crypto and blockchain to generate income, as traditional jobs steadily become outdated.
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin could also help the unemployed facilitate small-scale international trade. Bitcoin enables these parties to sell products in exchange for Bitcoin and a boycott of traditional e-commerce systems, which often involves having to set up a merchant account with traditional banks, coupled with its attendant charges.
Cryptos, when fully adopted, will have a considerable impact on Nigeria, by increasing financial inclusion of individuals and companies. Particularly, by reducing the transaction fees and time, cross-border payments can be improved. This is beneficial for remittance payments, peer-to-peer lending, and international trade.
Experts discuss the utilization of cryptos to curb unemployment
In an exclusive interview with Nairametrics, Chike Okonkwo, Business Development Manager, OKEx, spoke on the role crypto can play in providing income for a substantial number of young Nigerians.
“Since the adoption of cryptocurrency in Africa, Nigeria has become a major hot zone in the African cryptocurrency space. The adoption of blockchain/cryptocurrency by Nigerians, has been able to give jobs to young Nigerians like me.
“The industry will further curb unemployment in Nigeria, but to achieve this — Blockchain and Crypto education must be a key focus because it’s a young industry. I personally encourage a lot of young people looking for a career path to explore the blockchain and crypto space.
“We need people who understand business development, media, marketing, programming, Crypto trading, legal Compliance, design/graphics, etc. in the industry.
“Young Nigerians have built trusted platforms for buying and selling of cryptos and there is more to come. I am a member of Stakeholders in Blockchain Association (SiBAN), which aims to unite/self-regulate players in the industry and Blockchain Nigeria User Group (BNUG), with core focus on educating people about the Industry.”
Charles Okaformbah, Blockchain Solutions Architect, in a note to Nairametrics, gave key insights on the job opportunities that crypto can offer Nigeria’s growing population.
“Aside the trading activities carried out by Nigerians, DeFi products can be created with cryptos to help create businesses that will employ more Nigerians.
“Trading with little funds might not really yield much in comparison with the inflated cost of living, but long-term investments on solid crypto-assets have proven to be a game-changer or yielded much more returns.
“Remittances can also be done with cryptos at a charge for international traders, who are currently limited by government’s monetary policies.
“There is also crypto-collateral. Aside crypto as an end-product, employment can also be provided via tech for tech enthusiasts/geeks, by creating their services like crypto/blockchain solutions for organizations, developing crypto-related products, providing audit for smart contracts, crypto forensic auditing, project management, and a whole lot more.”
Digital currencies or cryptocurrencies as a standalone will not make an all-encompassing impact on the Nigerian unemployment index. However, Nigeria must start building native Blockchain Infrastructures post-pandemic.
This way, the core sovereignty of the technology will originate and mutate in meeting our unique Nigerian market niche. The domino effect across the skilled, entrepreneurial and regular professional layers would be massive.
The improvement of financial inclusion is the most significant and most developed benefit of crypto-currencies for Nigerians.