Oluwatomisin Amokeoja, Forbes Africa

Oluwatomisin Amokeoja, Forbes Africa

In our interview with Oluwatomisin Amokeoja, Multimedia journalist (West Africa) at Forbes Africa, he sheds light on his journey into journalism, revealing how he stumbled into the field and grew to love it. He further delves into detail on this passion for reporting on lesser-covered stories that highlight Africa’s hidden economic gems and opportunities.

What led you into journalism, and what would you be doing if you weren’t a journalist? 

My journey into journalism is quite a tale. You could call me an accidental journalist, as it wasn’t my initial career plan, but I’ve grown to love it. It all began with a mandatory internship in 2013 at one of Nigeria’s leading national dailies. I went on to freelance with the same medium and had brief stints with other media organizations before returning full-time to where it all started. Fast forward to now, I cover West Africa for FORBES AFRICA. 

If I hadn’t pursued journalism, I might have pursued my childhood dream of becoming a policeman, a medical doctor, or an international relations expert.

When you’re researching stories, what compels you to work on sharing a particular story with your audience? Any hot trends we should look out for in the coming months? 

I am passionate about reporting on the lesser-covered stories that reveal the hidden economic gems and opportunities in Africa. Business and economic reporting on Africa often emphasizes economic downturns while overlooking remarkable developments, such as Nigeria leading the unicorn count in Africa with five out of the available seven. This is just a glimpse into the opportunities and tremendous growth that the continent is experiencing. Unfortunately, much of these successes get overshadowed in the less-than-ideal narratives of the continent’s economic stories.

It is time to start telling the African growth story, one that I believe is best conveyed by individuals from the continent.

There is more to Africa than bad news. The Nigerian creative economy, from music industry (Afrobeats) to movie industry (Nollywood), is poised to contribute 10% to Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP), expanding sectoral GDP to $100 billion by 2030.

I believe hot trends to watch in the coming months include how the African startup ecosystem adapts to the global decline in funding. There should also be a focus on increasing funding for women-owned startups.

Why is African business so unique and what makes it so exciting to report on?

African business is uniquely dynamic, brimming with diverse ideas and untapped potential. From the English-speaking to the French-speaking regions of the continent, abundant natural resources and human capital abound. Reporting on it is thrilling, as there’s a business aspect to every facet, be it sports, entertainment, or fashion.

With a vibrant youthful population making significant strides despite challenges, Africa is increasingly making its mark on the global stage for positive reasons.

Which sectors or industries do you like to cover most and why?

I’m uncertain about having a specific preference, but I’ve extensively covered the African tech ecosystem. It’s a multifaceted ecosystem, ranging from fintech to healthtech, with constant activity round-the-clock.

Why is it important that people around the world get to hear about young, growing companies on the continent?

Highlighting the efforts of emerging companies is vital for promoting awareness and support. It’s not just about the established players; emerging businesses contribute significantly to their communities by enhancing employee well-being and delivering excellent customer service. Recognizing their impact encourages further growth and fosters a more inclusive narrative of success.

How can we encourage more people to join the writing community and dedicate their energy to telling stories about African tech and business?

I believe remuneration should be sufficient so writers can focus solely on their work without distractions. It’s challenging to be fully committed when financial concerns force them to juggle multiple responsibilities. 

Motivation also plays a crucial role; the work environment should foster growth and productivity. Toxic cultures deter writers and hinder organizational success. 

I often encounter young writers, some still students, achieving remarkable feats and even garnering attention from international media. Their determination to excel is admirable, and it’s essential for organizations to support their welfare. 

Africa boasts a wealth of talented writers, from Nigeria to Kenya to South Africa, deserving of attention and care from the organizations they work with. How the welfare of these writers are handled by the organizations will either encourage or discourage emerging/potential writers.