Nigeria, The Tech Hub of Africa, Nigeria, is About to Loose its Title

Nigeria is predominantly the Tech Hub of Africa, but the latest development from the Trump's administration could see the Giants of Africa loosing more than it's tech title.

Nigeria, The Tech Hub of Africa, Nigeria, is About to Loose its Title Artwork
Olivier Douliery-Pool / Getty Images

It is a fact that Nigeria is one of the most technologically advanced, the third in fact in Africa according to Jboyossai from Nairaland.
But in terms of technological hubs, Nigeria is number one with 85 hubs, according to face2face AfricaEtsey Atisu.

The Trump's Administration

Presently the 45th president of the United States of America is undergoing an impeachment trial which could see him becoming the third president to be impeached in the history of the nation. It doesn't stop his administration from carrying some influential actions that could see even their nation suffer a major blow in economy growth.

Trump's Alibi 

The Trump's administration has been known to target Muslim and Latinos countries, trying to keep their citizens away from the US. He basically states that, they are of no economical importance to the nation instead they bolster and/or are literally behind the high crime rate in the country. Some might say he's racist, can't stand any citizen that isn't American, white American to be precise, well that's just an opinion.

Nigeria Steps Into The Picture How?

Nigeria is neither a Muslim nor Latinos driven country, in spite of the fact her president is of the Muslim religion. The country gets affected due to one of the executive order from the Trump's administration on travel ban. 

The Trump administration issued its first travel ban in 2017, which was challenged, amended, and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. In its current form, as Executive Order 13780, the ban places restrictions on entry for citizens of Libya, North Korea, Syria and Yemen.

The motive to add Nigeria to the list is still unclear, as our source has not gotten a formal response from the Trump's administration. 

Tanzania, Eritrea, Sudan and Nigeria were some of the new countries to be added the list for a new travel restrictions, according to Politico. This is to coincide with the three-year anniversary of Trump’s original executive order, that targeted majority Muslim nations as the alibi above stated.

Africa’s tech hub

Nigeria is the U.S.’s second largest African trading partner and the U.S. is the largest foreign investor in Nigeria, according to USTR and State Department briefs.

Increasingly, the nature of the business relationship between the two countries is shifting to tech.

That’s in tandem with Nigeria steadily becoming Africa’s unofficial capital for VC, startups, rising founders and the entry of Silicon Valley companies.

By 2018 numbers, depending on the study, the country ranked first or second for tech investment on the continent. And into 2019, more of that is coming from American sources.

Goldman Sachs is a major backer of Jumia, the Nigeria headquartered e-commerce venture that became the first VC funded tech company in Africa to IPO on a major exchange, the NYSE in 2019.

Goldman also led a $20 million round last year for Nigerian trucking logistics company Kobo360 .

The U.S. bank’s investment in tech companies operating in Nigeria runs parallel to those by Visa, Mastercard, and SalesForce Ventures.

Nigerian tech is also home to a growing number of founders with ties to the U.S. and startups with operations in both countries. Nigerian fintech company Flutterwave, whose clients range from Uber to Cardi B, is headquartered in San Francisco with operations in Lagos. The company maintains a developer team across both countries for its B2B payments platform that helps American companies operating in Africa get paid.

MallforAfrica — a Nigerian e-commerce company that enables partners such as Macy’s, Best Buy and Auto Parts Warehouse to sell in Africa — is led by Chris Folayan, a Nigerian who studied and worked in the U.S. The company now employs Nigerians in Lagos and Americans at its Portland processing plant.

Africa’s leading VOD startup, iROKOtv maintains a New York office that lends to production of the Nigerian (aka Nollywood) content it creates and streams globally.

Andela, a tech-talent accelerator with over $180 million in VC, was co-founded by American Jeremy Johnson and Nigerian entrepreneur Iyinoluwa Aboyeji. The company has offices in New York and Lagos and employs over 1000 engineers.

Over the last five years, Silicon Valley’s ties to Africa and Nigeria have grown. There are a number of Nigerians working in senior positions in the Bay Area, such as Ime Archibong at Facebook — the U.S. company that opened an innovation lab in Nigeria in 2018, called NG_Hub.

Possible implications

Adding Nigeria to the U.S. travel ban would be a mistake for tech development of both countries, believes Bosun Tijani, CEO of Lagos based CcHub, now Africa’s largest innovation incubator.

“Nigeria’s a strategic country for well established companies, such as Google and Facebook. Twitter’s founder visited just a few months ago,” Tijani said, referring to Twitter/Square CEO Jack Dorsey.

CcHub CEO Bosun Tijani1

CcHub CEO Bosun Tijani

On the impact of a full travel ban, “The implications would be serious for both sides. U.S. companies will suffer and Nigerian companies will suffer,” said Tijani.

He also referenced the increasing level of tech capacity fostering between the two countries.

“With the importance of Nigeria to U.S. tech companies and the pool of talent that exists in Nigeria, there’s too much at stake to mess around with some visa ban. The embassies already do their work to vet people properly,” he said.

Adding Nigeria to the travel ban would adversely impact the work CcHub does with its American partners, which include Facebook and Google. “That’s the reason I come to the U.S. I’ve never been to the country on holiday, it’s always for business with them,” said Tijani.

Another effect of restricting entry of Nigerians into the U.S. could be to turn more of Nigeria’s techies away from U.S. partnerships and toward China. The country has been pivoting its strategic relationship with Africa to the continent’s tech scene.

In the last two quarters of 2019, more than 15 Chinese actors invested over $240 million of VC in Africa. More than $210 million of that was for startups in Nigeria.

Post CreditJake Bright/Tech Crunch