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Dubai Lessons: How Nigerians Can Learn In a Global Environment and Position For The Next Level

Next level is a very political phrase in Nigeria, but the reality is that as Nigerians we need to keep taking measurable steps forward that improve the quality of our lives and businesses. 

This week, I launched a business and lifestyle podcast called The NigeriansInDubai podcast. The goal of the podcast is knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer between Nigerians in Dubai, Nigerians globally, Nigerians in Nigeria, Africans, the Dubai community and the UAE.

The need I have discovered from spending a few months in Dubai is that there is a thirst for information around Dubai’s development story- from a desert to a global business and tourism hub; real stories of Nigerians innovating in the Dubai market; and direction on how Nigeria or indeed Lagos can be the next Dubai of the world.

By talking to Nigerian expats here in Dubai and engaging with the government and Dubai business community, I believe there are strong lessons that can be learnt and applied by Nigerians.

Every week I will talk to a Nigerian expat based in Dubai or visiting Dubai and share their stories of impact and how Nigerians can learn from them. 

The first episode of the podcast was released this week, and it featured Yemisi Sawyerr, a global learning and development adviser who works out of Dubai and Nigeria. She talks about how Nigerians can learn in a global environment.

Here are some of the things she said; 

  1. Do not think of learning as something you do only in a classroom: It is important to think of the world as your classroom. Leave the mentality of “ I am going for a training”. Training doesn’t have to happen in an organised setting. There are lots of digital learning opportunities that connect you to global experts in the field you are interested in that you would ordinarily not be able to access in an organised classroom. 


  1. Embrace the culture of continuous learning: Linkedin releases a report every year on learning called the Linkedin learning report which through analysis and interaction with global learning experts and human resource managers provide a list of skills that will define work in the next year.

Most of the skills on the list this year are soft skills. Things like communication creativity and influence are crucial to whatever you do.  

  1. Employ mechanisms of micro learning: Micro learning provides you the opportunity to learn a variety of skills in micro forms and modules. Platforms like Youtube, Shaw Academy, Udemy, etc. 

There is something called open badges. Nigerians like the validation of certifications and open badges provided by different digital learning platforms can feed this need and they are recognised globally. Platforms like Linkedin, Facebook, Google have different certifications that distinguish you and launch your career.

You can learn more about open badges on Platforms like,, and offer digital badges that are recognised by companies like IBM and many other multinationals.

  1. Your attitude and mindset: Your mindset and attitude is important in learning and accessing global opportunities. Do you settle easily? Do you look at the next level of your career? The attitude that “My company has to train me” is an attitude we need to drop. You have to realise that whatever you are doing in terms of building your skills are yours for life. Your level of hunger for the next level will ensure you make the right sacrifices. 

Yemisi talked about how her colleagues have referred to Nigerians as having the strongest hustling spirit they have ever seen. We have a reputation for being hardworking and a knack for creating businesses out of everything so applying this spirit to learning can help you achieve your goals. 

5. Mentorship: The role of mentoring in building the next generation of leaders and growing a great career can never be overemphasised. It is important to identify people whose career tracks you admire, model your career track after them and find opportunities to learn from them. A good mentor will push you out of your comfort zone and stretch you. A good mentor will also share their contacts to help push your career. 

 You can find mentors from Linkedin, at your current place of work and also by telling others to help you find mentors.

You need to be specific about what you want to achieve. The clearer you are about what you are looking to achieve the better. This will help you find the right mentor.

Your role in mentorship is important as well. You need to be deliberate in order to reach your goals. You can have a mentor for time management; execution; strategy or whatever skill you need. You can also have mentorship by immersion where you don’t have direct access to the mentor but you follow their approach so much that you begin to live that life.  

Profile: Ifeanyi Abraham is the founder of, a knowledge sharing and transfer platform focused on harnessing the stories and disruptive spirit of Dubai to the benefit of Nigerians. The platforms tells the stories of Nigerians living, working and visiting Dubai. 

As a PR and Digital Marketing Manager, he helps companies, government agencies & NGOs leverage the power of marketing & communications.

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