Nigeria’s Tech Start-up Boom May Rebrand Nation

With 45 million Internet users and 100 million mobile phones, Nigeria is poised to transform its tech image from scammers to start-ups.

Posted: 12/14/2012 02:43 PM EST
Nigeria’s Tech Start-up Boom May Rebrand Nation

Nigerian tech start-ups are attracting the attention of the world’s digital and financial giants — paving the way for a new perception of Nigerian online businesses.

Successful sites like online retailer Jumia.com.ng, travel site Wakanow and video streaming sites iBAKAtv and iROKOtv are proving that Nigeria can be a viable market for tech start-ups.

“I tell people who look at Africa, generally, the consumer opportunity of Africa is Nigeria. It is the largest market by far. I think the entire size of Kenya is [the size of] Lagos state," Tayo Oviosu, CEO of mobile-payment and cash-transfer service Pagatech, told Voice of America. "The engine of growth in any economy is really start-ups.”

Google will partner with iBAKAtv and local software and mobile phone app developer Co-Creation Hub Nigeria (CC-Hub).

While Pagatech boasts more than 300,000 users and many foreign investors, Jumia.com.ng has attracted funds from the likes of global investment bank JP Morgan. iROKOtv received $10 million in investments from American and Swedish investors.

“If you can get someone like JP Morgan to commit a significant amount to invest not just in Africa but in a Nigerian start-up, to me, that is to say Nigeria is open for business and in particular e-commerce in Nigeria is open for business and investment,” Tayo Kehinde, co-managing director of Jumia.com.ng, told VOA.


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(Photo: REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde)

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