Silas Adekunle is the Nigerian inventor and engineer who built the first Augmented Reality gaming robot. He recently set up a new firm ‘Awarri’ (meaning ‘seek and find’ in Yoruba, one of Nigeria’s popular languages), an educational project for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Maths (STEAM). The project seeks to expose young people and educators across Africa to robotics and coding.
The world is changing and “we need to equip Africans with the tools needed to join the tech revolution with solutions. What Africa needs is not only curriculum reform but also a better educator,” he stated.
In his interview with Business Insider SSA, Silas Adekunle shared some insights into his project, why he is coming back to Africa with Robotics Academy, his passion for African kids, and the role of government in ‘STEAM.’
Tell us about the Robotics journey to Africa – Awarri
It is one of my goals. As an entrepreneur, it’s a case of if you don’t try, you wouldn’t achieve anything. And if you try and try and only achieve 1% of what you set out to do, you’ve made the world a better place so I don’t have any issues with going out there, trying to create something.
So the goal for Awarri is to be a robotics-enabled platform for Africa. Yeah. And, you know, the reason for that is not just in terms of development. So I’m looking at it from a social point of view, education, yeah, upskilling people and then creating places for them to work so they can connect with industry. That’s the foundation. We have brilliant people here, who just need an opportunity.
How do you feel being one of the world’s most revolutionary entrepreneurs
Silas: About awards, I just love what I do and I like to share what I do and help more people. I hope more people get the opportunity to do that.
Does the government have a role to play in this?
The role of government is to facilitate and support the people to lead. For example, if you look at Rwanda, they’re really working to transform themselves and make it easier for entrepreneurs to come up and set up. So, this is where we need the government.
Any word of advice for young entrepreneurs in Africa?
Try to be yourself. Start from somewhere. For example, something very practical. I’ve carried like, three notebooks with me everywhere I go. You know, whenever I think of an idea, I write it down. When you see a problem, try and think about how you can solve it. One day, you will start doing interesting things.
Where do you see Awarri in the next two to three years?
The goal is to start supporting the educational system with all of the people doing great work. So first, we are bringing in cheap, affordable, but still able to compete on the global scale robotics kits to Africa.
With Awarri’s contributions, we would also like to get young people to start researching and thinking about ways to solve Africa’s problems.
Hopefully, Nigeria should have an Awarri lab, Awarri Academic and MekaMon (the world’s first gaming robot), as part of the education curriculum within the next two to three years.
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