Typically, forms of development reach and affect Africa at a snail pace. In Nigeria, Internet usage started out at 0.3% in 2000 and jumped to 15.9% due to the advent of mobile Internet. It caught on like wild fire, held down by the heavy youth base that have taken things into their own hands and created opportunities for themselves in a less than enabling environment.
From blogging to social media marketing and everything in between Nigerian youths have used the Internet to their advantage. Not only are young entrepreneurs using it to promote and drive their business, they are using the Internet to create opportunities and become entrepreneurs. Their creativity knows no bounds and as the scramble for more opportunities arises, investors can be sure to see the next big thing pop up more frequently. Startups like Jumia, Mall for Africa, Konga, Hotels.ng, Spinlet, and Jobberman have set precedence for others to aspire to. With a wealth of creativity the possibilities are endless of what they can do. However the harnessing of the internets power has been on the rise long before the economic windfall presently plaguing the country. Now the risk is higher, the urgency is more.
In September 2015 DEMO Africa took place in Lagos, where 30 tech startups pitched to an audience of investors. Despite economic policies the rapid Internet expansion and mobile penetration almost guarantees success. The truth is it has taken just four years for the African tech to transform. While the risks of doing business in Africa have always been high and present economic changes are bringing back the original fear investors held onto about Africa, they have more to gain by taking more daring risks.
Despite economic shortcomings, Nigeria still remains a viable ground for investing because other factors still hold true. For one, the emerging middle class is still surviving in the midst of falling oil prices. Nigeria still represents an uncharted land of opportunity and investor’s money can drive Nigeria’s economy to where it needs to be. In an interview with Fortune Konga’s Sim Shagaya said, “In ways the country’s challenges create the opportunities.” Right on time to aggressively address those challenges and the opportunities therein a Nigerian SME Finance Conference & Workshop will hold in Lagos this August. As the need continues to arise for such beneficial programs it means there is hope for Africa yet.
Venture Finance for African Report reported total investment in 2014 was US$27 million a more than 100% increment. The Disrupt Africa African Tech Startups funding report 2015 revealed South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya were the top 3 destinations for tech investors in 2015. According to the International Monetary Fund, even though growth has slowed in Nigeria the economy may expand 3.2% and may even grow to 4.9% in 2017 if the government prioritizes infrastructure investment. In fact Robert Diamond, co-founder of Atlas Mara Ltd said a tougher economic climate and lower asset valuation in Africa are a buying opportunity. At the Bloomberg Africa Business and Economic Summit in Cape Town this earlier this year, Diamond mentioned that there is no question that Nigeria has huge potential. “We’re seeing in the short term improvements and corrections under Buhari which will have a very positive impact in the long term.”