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A Year of Youth Spotlight Series – Joseph Adeyemi of Nigeria

June 14th, 2024
A short bio about yourself

My name is Joseph Adeyemi. I am 28 years old, Nigerian by birth and British by nationality. I hold a degree in financial economics – covering investment banking, micro- and macro-economics, and development economics. My professional background is in technology – I have worked in cloud technology, SaaS, and GenAI, most recently for Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Tell us a little about your event/project (how it came about, the number of young people who benefited and the impact it had)

The project came about after a young leaders’ meeting at the Commonwealth Secretariat, at Marlborough House in London. We discussed the success of the Commonwealth Year of the Youth, and I voiced my willingness to do something agriculture-related due to my extensive network and business experience.

The project was a 3-day capacity-building event where we had award-winning business owners, both male and female, including PhD holders, agri-tech inventors, and speakers from the United Nations. They spoke to young people, from all continents of the Commonwealth, about cutting-edge technology, sustainable farming practices, entrepreneurship, and community development.

What has inspired you to work on this particular issue?

As a child born in Africa, I have always been exposed to the opportunities and impact of agriculture as a sector. This interest led me to start my importing and exporting business called Agrivine. Running the business, I realised that the world of agriculture is changing, and I would like to be a driver of that change.

While society has been productive for over 120 years with mechanical agriculture, there is a critical need to transition into sustainable agriculture if we are to feed the growing global population (9.7 billion by 2050) and preserve our planet. With this in mind, we hosted a project for young people across the Commonwealth to teach, inspire, and equip them to take on existing opportunities.

With an ageing farmer population, and young people preferring opportunities in other sectors, our mission was to show them that modern agriculture is an ecosystem that includes finance, sustainability, technology (AI, drones, data, robotics, IoT), and marketing. The message was that everyone alive is participating in the agriculture value chain and the opportunities are not only endless but profitable.

Why is this issue important to address in your community/country?

Well, the goal is to show that the agricultural value chain is a dynamic, profitable and purposeful field. My business has developed frameworks that allow us to incubate the world’s innovative and sustainable agriculture ideas and test them in local regions. These ideas can improve yield on farms and transform the farm-to-table process.  We hope to scale this incubator across Africa and then the world.

What was the most memorable moment during the event/project?

The most memorable part of the project was the curiosity and excitement we could feel by the end. We set out to galvanise young people and get them inspired to transform the agricultural landscape – and we did it! Many have shared ideas and connected with each other on LinkedIn and email. We are planning a mentorship program with the Commonwealth Secretariat to transform these ideas into reality.

What is the dream for you and your project?

My vision is to transform the agricultural landscape by being an advocate for its dynamism and profitability. I plan on encouraging young people and women to participate and ensuring sustainable methods are adopted at a faster rate.

What motivates you to keep advocating and challenging yourself?

I am motivated by the opportunity to transform lives. The thought that those in rural, and sometimes forgotten areas, will be able to learn, work, and earn drives me. The opportunity to make use of the world’s under-utilised human and land capital while improving the planet is also very motivating.

Another thing that motivates me is vision! I have never been wealthy, but my family and background have always been full of love and support. This made me think I can achieve something big. With that behind me, I believe I should impact as many people as possible.

It’s also important to take responsibility and be the change you wish to see in the world – so the work will continue until we have done as much as we can. As a result of this Year of Youth project, I learned that people rise to the occasion and levels of responsibility. Often, people in developing countries are so intelligent, so enthusiastic, and full of integrity, but they just need opportunity!

Tell us an unusual fact or piece of trivia about yourself.

My primary school friends loved wrestling when we were 7-year-olds so I created a replica of the spinning championship belt, and we’d play fight for it in the playground. I also got an A in Mandarin!

What is your favourite quote?

My favourite quote is from the Bible: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” from Philippians 4:13.

My favourite poem is ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling, here is the last verse:

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   

    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

    If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   

    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Why?

One tells me I am capable of achieving anything I put my mind to while also being able to remove anything I do not like. The poem is a skilful way to describe an individual who is not governed by reactionary emotion but by humility, integrity, and love for people.

What one youth issue would you like the Commonwealth Youth Programme to address in the coming years and why?

I would like the Commonwealth Secretariat to partner with more companies, like the one I run, to support young people in entrepreneurship. The passion and work ethic are there. I believe, armed with guidance and start-up capital/investment, you will see individuals transform families and communities.

I commend the Commonwealth Secretariat, especially Dona Kannangara,for making the project seamless. There were no challenges because we were so excited about what we were doing. The only hurdle were the time frames we gave and had to deliver but even then – it was done!

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A short bio about yourself

My name is Joseph Adeyemi. I am 28 years old, Nigerian by birth and British by nationality. I hold a degree in financial economics – covering investment banking, micro- and macro-economics, and development economics. My professional background is in technology – I have worked in cloud technology, SaaS, and GenAI, most recently for Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Tell us a little about your event/project (how it came about, the number of young people who benefited and the impact it had)

The project came about after a young leaders’ meeting at the Commonwealth Secretariat, at Marlborough House in London. We discussed the success of the Commonwealth Year of the Youth, and I voiced my willingness to do something agriculture-related due to my extensive network and business experience.

The project was a 3-day capacity-building event where we had award-winning business owners, both male and female, including PhD holders, agri-tech inventors, and speakers from the United Nations. They spoke to young people, from all continents of the Commonwealth, about cutting-edge technology, sustainable farming practices, entrepreneurship, and community development.

What has inspired you to work on this particular issue?

As a child born in Africa, I have always been exposed to the opportunities and impact of agriculture as a sector. This interest led me to start my importing and exporting business called Agrivine. Running the business, I realised that the world of agriculture is changing, and I would like to be a driver of that change.

While society has been productive for over 120 years with mechanical agriculture, there is a critical need to transition into sustainable agriculture if we are to feed the growing global population (9.7 billion by 2050) and preserve our planet. With this in mind, we hosted a project for young people across the Commonwealth to teach, inspire, and equip them to take on existing opportunities.

With an ageing farmer population, and young people preferring opportunities in other sectors, our mission was to show them that modern agriculture is an ecosystem that includes finance, sustainability, technology (AI, drones, data, robotics, IoT), and marketing. The message was that everyone alive is participating in the agriculture value chain and the opportunities are not only endless but profitable.

Why is this issue important to address in your community/country?

Well, the goal is to show that the agricultural value chain is a dynamic, profitable and purposeful field. My business has developed frameworks that allow us to incubate the world’s innovative and sustainable agriculture ideas and test them in local regions. These ideas can improve yield on farms and transform the farm-to-table process.  We hope to scale this incubator across Africa and then the world.

What was the most memorable moment during the event/project?

The most memorable part of the project was the curiosity and excitement we could feel by the end. We set out to galvanise young people and get them inspired to transform the agricultural landscape – and we did it! Many have shared ideas and connected with each other on LinkedIn and email. We are planning a mentorship program with the Commonwealth Secretariat to transform these ideas into reality.

What is the dream for you and your project?

My vision is to transform the agricultural landscape by being an advocate for its dynamism and profitability. I plan on encouraging young people and women to participate and ensuring sustainable methods are adopted at a faster rate.

What motivates you to keep advocating and challenging yourself?

I am motivated by the opportunity to transform lives. The thought that those in rural, and sometimes forgotten areas, will be able to learn, work, and earn drives me. The opportunity to make use of the world’s under-utilised human and land capital while improving the planet is also very motivating.

Another thing that motivates me is vision! I have never been wealthy, but my family and background have always been full of love and support. This made me think I can achieve something big. With that behind me, I believe I should impact as many people as possible.

It’s also important to take responsibility and be the change you wish to see in the world – so the work will continue until we have done as much as we can. As a result of this Year of Youth project, I learned that people rise to the occasion and levels of responsibility. Often, people in developing countries are so intelligent, so enthusiastic, and full of integrity, but they just need opportunity!

Tell us an unusual fact or piece of trivia about yourself.

My primary school friends loved wrestling when we were 7-year-olds so I created a replica of the spinning championship belt, and we’d play fight for it in the playground. I also got an A in Mandarin!

What is your favourite quote?

My favourite quote is from the Bible: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” from Philippians 4:13.

My favourite poem is ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling, here is the last verse:

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   

    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

    If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   

    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Why?

One tells me I am capable of achieving anything I put my mind to while also being able to remove anything I do not like. The poem is a skilful way to describe an individual who is not governed by reactionary emotion but by humility, integrity, and love for people.

What one youth issue would you like the Commonwealth Youth Programme to address in the coming years and why?

I would like the Commonwealth Secretariat to partner with more companies, like the one I run, to support young people in entrepreneurship. The passion and work ethic are there. I believe, armed with guidance and start-up capital/investment, you will see individuals transform families and communities.

I commend the Commonwealth Secretariat, especially Dona Kannangara,for making the project seamless. There were no challenges because we were so excited about what we were doing. The only hurdle were the time frames we gave and had to deliver but even then – it was done!