The agrarian years and over-dependence on crude as a source of revenue in many African countries are gradually coming to an end. With the rise of information technology in western countries, cities across Africa are working hard and looking for ways to create their own Silicon Valley.
Some African countries, including Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa, are gradually becoming a force in the industry.
The busy corners of Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, have become a hub for many technology start-ups.
Yabacon Valley, named after its neighbourhood and Silicon Valley, which began on a low scale in 2011, has caught the eyes of the front runner in the information technology industries, notably Facebook and Google.
Yaba region in Lagos has been known for education for many years. It houses the Yaba College of Technology (the first higher institution in Nigeria), University of Lagos, Queens College, National Library of Nigeria and West Africa Examination Council (WAEC), which is the body conducting post-secondary school examination in West Africa’s Anglophone countries.
The technology hub started 10 startups some years ago but has risen to about 60 in 2019. The centre is now home to organizations such as Hotels.ng, digital labs for First Bank Nigeria Ltd. (Nigeria’s first commercial bank) and Stanbic IBTC bank among many others.
Wennovation Hub with African Leadership Forum initiated new businesses in the tech space in 2011. Little was known about it until 2012 when Bosun Tijani, social trailblazer, and business visionary, with some other people, set out to help vivify a network of progress specialists who put stock in structure a solid base for Nigeria through innovation.
They were sure they could help quicken the development of individuals who are driven by the need to disturb the present state of affairs in Nigeria through keen use of innovation. The name later became Cc-HUB, and it turned into Nigeria’s first startup process house. With venture and backing in real money and kind from associations, for example, the Indigo Trust, Omidyar Network, MainOne Cable Company, and the Lagos State government, it before long picked up energy and continued to introduce a fibre-optic-fuelled data superhighway. In 2011, the previous broker Seun Onigbinde helped to establish BudgIT, a fiscal transparency venture, on the third floor of CC Hub’s six-story building in Yaba. As one of the first early- beneficiaries of CC Hub’s incubation drive in 2011.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was in Yaba in 2016. In a Facebook post after his visit, praised the energy and the amazing atmosphere. I’m excited to learn as much as I can, I’m looking forward to meeting more people in Nigeria”, he said. A year after, the CEO declared Facebook’s first tech centre in Africa would be situated in Lagos. Facebook’s pending interest in Nigeria reflects Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s declaration to build up its first Launchpad space outside the US in Lagos.
This recent attention from the two tech giants have put Lagos on global startup’s map, and Yabacon Valley is the incubator
“In the past, Nigeria’s billionaires were traders, and oil and gas moguls,” Osinbajo, Nigeria’s vice president, who heads a technology council, said in a speech last September. “But in the next few years, billionaires from Nigeria will be techies.”
Yaba may be home to many technology compaines, none of them makes semiconductors, since the technology is still at the early stage and Nigeria is yet to advance to the technology level of manufacturing electronics. However, Yabacon Valley may someday rival Silicon Valley or become the next Silicon Valley.