BY CHIMA AKWAJA |
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that the startup ecosystem is one of the vital tools in finding solutions to Nigeria and Africa’s various challenges.
He noted that it will determine the continent’s future as the next frontier for economic opportunities.
Osinbajo, who was represented by director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, stated this at the Startup and Developer event organised by Google while speaking on the topic, “The African Start-up Ecosystem Opportunity.”
He said the startup ecosystem is extremely critical to the future of Nigeria and Africa at large.
“Globally, the Startup ecosystem is the most viable platform for innovators and entrepreneurs to take their ideas from inception to impact. It brings relevant stakeholders together to collaborate and bring something new to the world or new to an industry.
“There will never be a more perfect time to strengthen the African startup ecosystem than now, on the verge of the 4th industrial revolution,” he said.
The VP noted that today, Africa is presented with another opportunity, the 4th industrial revolution, which is shaping and creating economic activities.
He continued: “It is proving to be the catalyst for future economic activities that will bridge the divide between rich and developing countries, and remove physical borders and barriers while maximising the utilisation of digital technologies as a source of inspiration across economic sectors.
“The African startup ecosystem opportunity is hinged on two key factors, which are anchored on the 4th industrial revolution and driven primarily by digital technologies. The first factor is innovation capacity, and the second one is entrepreneurial capacity.
“Both capacities depend on four key indicators, Human Capital, Infrastructure, Funding and Demand. Human capital being the first indicator means that African startups must realise that they are only as strong as the value of the human resources they have. Therefore, startups like Andela, Wootlab Innovations and Decagon are vital as they are involved in producing skilled talent.
“With this, Africa can become the next hotbed for professional talent that will provide local solutions and export their skills and solutions to a global market that actively seeks such value. This is why we highly valued Google Developer Space in Lagos.
“It is the first in Africa and speaks to the position of Nigeria as a leader in the digital skills and startup ecosystem in Africa. The investments attracted by our startups confirm the position. Recently, Flutterwave announced new funding of $170m, and Stripe acquired Paystack for more than $200m. Other Nigerian technology companies like Interswitch have raised funding in hundreds of millions of dollars”.
The VP stated that according to the Startup Genome report, Lagos is the most valuable startup ecosystem on the continent, having 400 to 700 active startups valued at over $2 billion with Fintech being the most prominent in the Lagos technology startups ecosystem.
However, other industries are emerging with startups like Flying Doctors, 54gene, Helium Health and Life Bank blazing the trail in the healthcare sector and Thrive Agric, Afex Commodities, and Probity Farms making waves in the agriculture and commodities exchange space.