Unemployment and the tech explosion in Nigeria.
Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation and while its natural resources seem plentiful, poverty abounds in the land and her youths are grossly unemployed. According to tradingeconomics.com , Youth Unemployment Rate in Nigeria averaged 23.63 percent from 2014 until 2018, reaching an all time high of 38 percent in the second quarter of 2018 and a record low of 11.70 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014. Among those employed, about 20% are underemployed and earn less than $80 monthly which is ridiculous for a graduate. It is in light of this that a lot of Nigerian youths both graduates and non-graduates have flooded the tech ecosystem seeing it as a way out of poverty whilst providing societal solutions at the same time.
Technology has the ability to connect individuals with governments, organizations, and businesses and this provides many positive benefits. Information Communications Technology (ICT) is not only one of the fastest growing industries — directly creating millions of jobs — but it is also an important enabler of innovation and development. Not only does it contribute to the country’s GDP, it also facilitates the emergence of new services and industries. The Nigerian Government has opened her eyes to the boundless opportunities technology can bring hence investment in technology has increased drastically. According to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in September 2017, Nigeria’s investment in ICT hit 70 Billion Naira.
According to the annual African Tech Startups Funding Report 2018 released by startup news and research portal “Disrupt Africa”, African tech startups smashed funding records in 2018 as 210 startups secured US$334.5 million worth of investment, with Nigeria emerging as the premier investment destination on the continent. Technological companies have gradually overtaken the oil and gas sector to become the largest public companies in the world, with startups cropping out every year and currently many non-technological industries are either dying at technology’s hands or becoming one of it. The impact of tech companies and startups cannot be over-emphasized — they deliver value to their customers and have a direct impact on the cities they make their homes. Infosys for instance has impacted Bangalore and Alibaba has changed Hangzhou. Same with Google transforming Mountain View and Microsoft transforming Redmond. When these startups grew, they directly impacted the growth of their cities as well. Employment opportunities for youth increased and new employment algorithms came into the picture. Demand for developers increased and experienced talent started moving to these cities for better career opportunities.
In the same vein, startups in Nigeria can help bridge the gap between Europe and Africa as it relates to technological innovations. With new services and industries springing up, the need for software developers who would build applications that would solve societal needs is necessary and Nigeria’s large supply of youths are equal to the task as the current tech ecosystem does not place a demand on having a Computer Science degree but in having the necessary skills needed to get the job done.
There are few Nigerian startups contributing to the economic growth of the country. Some of these startups have received funding from local and international venture capitalists and have attracted media attention. Some of them are on their way to becoming household names while some are lurking in the shadows whilst doing great works.
Flutterwave is a Nigerian financial technology startup established in 2016 by a team of ex-bankers, entrepreneurs and engineers. The company was founded to provide seamless payment solutions to banks, merchants and their customers across Africa.
Flutterwave’s payments infrastructure connects Africa to the global economy. They have made it easier for Africans to build global businesses that can make and accept any form of payment, anywhere from across Africa and around the world.
Flutterwave has processed 100 Million transactions worth $2.5B and have 50 bank partners in Africa. They are one integrated platform that accept payments, make payments and manage business funds, helping businesses to connect globally.
The 2-year-old startup has raised over $20 million and its largest investors include Green Visor Capital and Greycroft Partners.
The startup has its headquarters in San Francisco with offices in Lagos, Nairobi, Accra and Johannesburg. In mid-2018, the payment solution startup expanded its operations into Uganda, making it their fourth African market.
Paystack is a Nigerian-based payment startup that allows businesses to accept funds via credit card, debit card, money transfer and mobile money on their websites or mobile apps. It was founded by Shola Akinlade and Ezra Olubi in 2015 to enable Nigerian merchants accept online payment.
Paystack helps businesses in Africa get paid by anyone, anywhere in the world and is trusted by over 27,000 plus businesses. Some of Paystack merchants are MTN, Domino’s Pizza, Axa Mansard, Ren Money and Taxify.
In 2018, Paystack secured $8 million in Series A funding from global payment giants; Stripe, Visa, and Tencent to expand their payment infrastructure and grow their engineering team.
Beyond payment, Paystack’s dashboard allows firms to monitor every aspect of their business performance closely. Paystack is one of the startups that are very focused on their mission.
Publiseer is a digital publishing platform tailored to meet the growing needs of independent African authors and artists. The platform was created in 2017 by twin brothers Chidi Nwaogu and Chika Nwaogu to bring publishing, design and technology in one place.
Apart from free publishing, Publiseer helps authors and artistes convert their raw work into a beautiful and professional masterpiece. With Publiseer, you get a professional book/album cover and unique ISBN/UPC number assigned to their book/album.
The startup recently partnered with Google Play Books, to support Google’s digital book distribution service in fulfilling the publishing requests it receives in Africa. The startup expanded its operations from Nigeria to its neighbouring West African countries; South Africa, Egypt, Kenya and Ghana.
According to Ventures Africa, the platform recorded a profit of nearly $11,000 in the first quarter of 2018, having published and monetized the creative works of over 500 African creatives.
Despite the challenges faced by Nigeria and her people, the new technology revolution is a harbinger of hope to the Nigerian populace as it provides endless possibilities not only to the economy of the nation but to lift the citizens out of poverty through job creation and the easement of societal challenges via technology.
About the Authors
Arigbanla Yemi John is a tech enthusiast, a foodie, a philosopher, a writer and a software developer. @yemmyharry
Nzekwe Samuel is first a Human| Thinker | Futurist | UI/UX Designer | Product design analyst | Software developer | Master Salesman @samuel.nzekwe205
Nwafor Jude is a web developer and a writer. A lover of games, football and classical music. @thaddydore
Chukwunenye Moses is a software developer, interning at LearnFactory. He is also a writer and a table tennis player. @chunkums088
Kelechi Mbawuike is a software developer, a lover of good music and a developing writer. @kmbawuike
Olajuwon Owoseni is a software developer and a content creator. @holajuwon