The growth in the Nigerian tech scene has been tremendous this past year, gaining recognition from the world over and a lot of individuals like Zuckerberg. Though we still have a long way to go, it is without doubt that progress is being made in the industry.
Concerning tech development in Nigeria, only Lagos and its surrounding states seem to pop up. So when one thinks of tech in Nigeria, Northern Nigeria doesn’t always come to mind, although, occasionally, consideration is given to the capital city, Abuja.
But there has been a few developments which have sprung up in the North and the atmosphere is gradually picking up to the possibilities and opportunities in tech. 2016 has been a bit eventful for tech in the region with the opening up of a few more hubs and the launch of Startup Arewa.
A few of the platforms which are gradually creating an ecosystem which was once non-existent include:
- Startup Kaduna: a forum for Kaduna’s budding entrepreneurs to be inspired, educated and to connect with peers. It is an independently organized and not for profit event by local startup enthusiasts.
- HackJos: a challenge-driven 48-hour hackathon in Jos, powered by nHub, the first hub in the region. HackJos organised the first hackathon in the region in 2015.
- TD4PAI: a not for profit technology hardware incubation hub in Abuja, which organises workshops and trainings geared towards building products primarily focused on upstream ICT. The hub currently has eight startups in its incubation program.
- StartUp Arewa: An initiative that aims to create a thriving tech ecosystem in the 19 northern states. This initiative is very recent as it launched in November so its impact is yet to be felt.
The opening of hubs in the region, although very few, is gradually stirring up a tech awareness. The support cannot be overestimated as a number of partnerships have been made to further open up the region to tech with a few partnership still in consideration.
A lot of challenges still face the region and the educational gap is notably one of them. Asides that, the region has a pretty good environment as lower costs of living and good geographical landscape makes it possible for products to be easily built and done cheaply too. The capital city, Abuja, is a contrast to this though as ‘the lifestyle is less than ideal for developing products. Everyone is busy making money, the traffic congestion is much like Lagos, the weather is too hot, and the expensive nature of the town isn’t favouring innovation‘ noted David Dayser, founder, nHub.
The possibilities in the region is huge with the potential to become at par with the likes of India. The first hurdle which the region is trying to cross is that of the non-existence of an ecosystem but this is gradually changing.