In October 2023, Global Tech Africa announced their strategic alliance with eminent organizations such as the Herbert Onyewumbu Wigwe (HOW) Foundation, and Wigwe University, this got the attention of Exquisite Magazine, hence we decided to feature the multi-talented Ms. Yvonne Victor Olomu, who not only serves as the Programme Director/COO of The HOW Foundation but is also a skilled lawyer and a seasoned professional in Health, Safety & Environment Management and Project Management. With an impressive 18 years of experience in the upstream oil and gas sector, her journey is nothing short of inspiring!
Grab a seat and read through her interview.
EM: To kick off our conversation, could you please tell us a bit about yourself and your role at the HOW
Ms Yvonne: My name is Yvonne Victor Olomu, I’m a lawyer, a Health, Safety & Environment Management and a Project Management Professional. I worked in the upstream oil and gas sector for about 18 years, before my foray into the Social Impact Space and full-time Project Management. I am currently the Chief Operating Officer of The Herbert Onyewumbu Wigwe Foundation (The HOW Foundation) and also the Programme Director of Wigwe University, a project of the Foundation. It is a world-class University out of Africa for Africans that would stand shoulder to shoulder with the best-ranked universities around the globe. At Wigwe University we are offering very innovative degree programmes that would groom our students into future fearless African leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs and highly skilled/quality employable graduates. We would be known for our STEAM (Science, Technology, Arts and Mathematics), Social and Management Sciences.
EM: Let’s dive into the vision behind the Global Tech Africa Conference. How does it aim to empower the tech ecosystem in Africa?
Ms. Yvonne: It’s pretty expansive. The Global Tech Africa Conference is like this transformative engine, seeking to empower the tech ecosystem in Africa through a multi-faceted approach. It’s not just about hosting an event; it’s about creating a dynamic platform that nurtures innovation, facilitates knowledge-sharing, and builds strategic partnerships. At its core, the conference seeks to unlock mutual growth opportunities within Africa’s digital economy. By focusing on technology infrastructure, talent development, startup funding, and actively promoting gender diversity, it aspires to propel the entire tech landscape forward.
EM: That’s a comprehensive view! Moving on, what are the key themes and topics the conference plans to address, and how will these discussions shape the future of the tech ecosystem in Africa?
Ms. Yvonne: Great question! The conference has an intricately crafted agenda, delving into key themes that are pivotal for the evolution of Africa’s tech ecosystem. We’re talking about technology infrastructure, talent capacity development, startup funding, and a particular emphasis on gender diversity. These discussions aren’t just surface-level; they’re designed to be a catalyst for tangible change. By addressing specific challenges, fostering collaboration, and offering insights tailored to the unique needs of the African market, we aim to shape a future where the tech landscape is robust, inclusive, and at the forefront of global innovation.
EM: Partnerships are key. Can you share a bit about HOW Foundation’s role as a partner and how their contributions align with the conference’s objectives?
Ms. Yvonne: Absolutely, partnerships are the heartbeat of such events. Now, let’s talk about HOW Foundation –It plays a pivotal role. Our objective in intervening in the education, health and empowerment sectors aligns seamlessly with the conference’s objectives, especially in the realms of fostering collaboration and knowledge-sharing. Specifically, we bring our dedication to tech talent capacity development through Wigwe University, professional certification training and gender diversity to the table. It’s not just about being a partner; it’s about being an integral part of a collective mission to empower the tech ecosystem in Africa. Their contributions extend beyond the surface; they’re woven into the fabric of our shared vision.
EM: Gender diversity is crucial. What initiatives or sessions are planned at the conference to encourage women’s participation in technology?
Ms. Yvonne: Gender diversity is a cornerstone. At the conference, we’re not just paying lip service to this; we’ve got concrete initiatives and dedicated sessions. We’re addressing challenges faced by women in the tech sector head-on. It’s about creating a supportive platform for networking, mentorship, and empowerment. Through these targeted efforts, we aim to foster an environment where women can thrive, contribute, and lead in the tech industry.
EM: What sets the Global Tech Africa Conference apart, and how do you see it shaping the future of technology in Africa?
Ms. Yvonne: The conference stands out for its unwavering focus on collaboration, knowledge exchange, and addressing Africa’s specific tech needs. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach; it’s about understanding the unique challenges and opportunities within the continent. The conference aspires to create a vibrant ecosystem that not only nurtures innovation, entrepreneurship, and talent but also positions Africa as a global tech hub. This isn’t just an event; it’s a movement shaping the trajectory of technology in Africa
EM: Start-up funding is crucial. What opportunities or programs will the conference offer, and how will partners like HOW Foundation be involved?
Ms Yvonne: Start-ups are the lifeblood of innovation. The conference is gearing up to offer a range of opportunities and programs to support tech startups in Africa. This includes funding initiatives, mentorship programs, and strategic partnerships. Partners like HOW Foundation are not passive observers; they’re active participants in these initiatives. Their involvement is crucial in providing support and ensuring the sustainability and growth of tech startups across the continent.
EM: Great advice for aspiring tech enthusiasts! What would you say to youths with a passion for entering the tech industry?
Ms. Yvonne: To the aspiring tech enthusiasts out there, I’d say this: To conquer life’s challenges, embrace curiosity. Seek knowledge, and cultivate a mindset of continuous learning. Actively seek collaboration. The tech industry is dynamic and ever-evolving; adaptability is key. Stay curious, stay connected, and you’ll not only find success but also make a meaningful impact on the industry. Above all BE FEARLESS
EM: Looking ahead, where do you envision the Global Tech Africa Conference in future editions? Can it evolve into a global conference, making waves internationally?
Ms. Yvonne: Ah, the future! With the momentum gained from the inaugural conference, I see it evolving into a prominent international event. It’s not just wishful thinking; it’s a logical progression. The conference is poised to be a cornerstone for global collaboration, further propelling advancements in technology on a larger scale. I envision it making significant waves in the global tech arena, becoming a go-to platform for discussions, innovations, and partnerships that transcend borders.
EM: And finally, tell us a bit more about HOW Foundation and its role in the conference.
Ms Yvonne: HOW Foundation is an organisation committed to making a positive impact. Established in 2016, with a mission to intervene in health, education and youth empowerment, which would ultimately enhance the quality of life for individuals and communities. In these few years, we have trained 75 doctors for capacity building in oncology surgery in the United States and Israel and adopted 25 primary healthcare centres in Rivers State for revamping, efficiency, capacity building and pharmaceutical funding. We would manage these PHCs for 5 years and hand them over to the State Government. We have also partnered in the education of thirteen thousand almajiri children in Kaduna State and are currently establishing Wigwe University to provide best-in-class tertiary education to Nigerians and Africans. This is the wealth of experience and dedication we are bringing to the Global Tech Africa Conference. Our contributions extend beyond mere partnership – We embody a commitment to building a sustainable and inclusive future for the African tech ecosystem.
EM: Thank you for your time ma
Ms Yvonne: Thank you for having me
To wrap up our interview I believe The Global Tech Africa is a game-changer for the tech scene in Africa. It’s bringing together experts, entrepreneurs, and policymakers to tackle the challenges and seize the opportunities in the tech industry. Exquisite magazine is looking forward to seeing how this will shape the future of tech in Africa.