We should all know by now that African countries like Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria are quite strong in the tech world. However, some of us may be guilty of looking only towards the likes of the U.S, the U.K, and some countries in Europe. Let's decentralize and broaden our view (I feel like I'm saying this all the time, but you know what? I'm fine with it), shall we?
Ok, so first of all, the data. It's important to know that Nigeria has the largest economy of the continent and it has been that way since 2014, when it surpassed South Africa, so it's been a while. Also, it has the second largest film industry in the world —volume-wise—with its Nollywood movies. VC's invested 747 million dollars last year in tech companies in the country, taking the lead away from Kenya. And finally, well, it has Africa's largest population, so there will be users, clients, investors and creators, for sure.
And just like Silicon Valley has had flagship names like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, Nigeria's tech scene too is starting to show constantly the names of creators and CEOs like Sim Shagaya, founder of several businesses like Konga, E-Motion and, more recently, uLesson, Jason Njoku, CEO of iROKOtv, and Tayo Oviosu, founder of Paga.
However, it is also true that more than 85% of the employment in all of Africa is informal. This means that when covid-19 arrived, the lockdown, along with the pandemic was a brutal one-two-combo for a lot of people. And that's when some tech startups come to play once again. That is the case for Ebun Okubanjo, who with his team created the crowdfunding site "We Are Together", to help people in economic distress during the lockdown. That is also the case for Justin Irabor, who founded "Angels Among Us" with volunteer software engineers.
So let's be more aware of what is going on outside of Silicon Valley, ok? Because, as we've seen with Nigeria, there's the people, the funding, the willingness and the skills to create interesting tech hubs all over the world. Where should we lay our eyes next? South-east Asia? Central America? Somewhere in the Balkans?
You tell us! Let us know what's exciting and new from different places, different people, different motives, and different tools.