It is no longer news that Facebook’s founder and C.E.O mark zuckerberg visited Nigeria, left for Kenya and came back to Nigeria. Here’s my takeaway from his much publicized visit.
1. The tech world has noticed Nigeria: Mark Zuckerberg didn’t leave silicon-valley to walk the streets of yaba because he was bored. He came because the potential of the country was too good a sharp guy like him couldn’t ignore. Having had Facebook’s free basics services rejected in India, and china not being particularly open to western influence; Africa seemed the next logical choice for expansion. And because Africa is nothing but Nigeria spelt in shorter words; he simply had to visit. Mark’s visit was not in any way complementary; it was strategic to the teeth. What did wizkid say about sitting in the corner? Don’t dull!
2. Yaba is officially the silicon-valley of Africa: Andela, Co creation-hub, idea hub, hotels.ng, and tech cabal are some of the successful start-ups nestled in this part of mainland Lagos. Ipso facto.
3. Nigerian Jollof has gone international: Although mark didn’t really proclaim Nigerian jollof to be better than Ghana’s or that of any other country; he did say our jollof ‘tastes very good’. He also said he was ‘warned not to compare our jollof with that of any neighbouring country’. Brethren, the world is finally putting a respeckt on our Jollof. Praise the lord!
4. Nigerian tech entrepreneurs are the Real Deal: Mark visited Nigeria not only because of the market’s potential, but also because there were smart, talented entrepreneurs who have used tech to solve problems and create jobs, thus making the country attractive to investors. This is no mean feat considering how difficult it is to run a business in Nigeria. So difficult one is tempted to invoke the biblical phrase about a camel going through the eye of a needle than for…………. That the country is rated 169th out of 189 countries in the world on the ease of doing business also says a lot. Mark’s visit is a culmination of the efforts of these guys and I believe they are the only heroes here. Imagine mark visiting and we had no start-up to show him? You get my point.
5. Lagos Mainland Vs Island Rivalry is real: whether we choose to accept it or not there is a rivalry between residents on the mainland and those on the island of Lagos. When pictures were released of mark walking the streets of yaba, mainland folks on twitter said they were leading 1-0. Mark slept on the island and the scores were level at 1-1. Again mark was seen jogging on the Ikoyi Bridge which made it 2-1. Thank God for a smart folk who quickly pointed out that mark had arrived via the Muritala muhammed airport, and would depart via the same route. He handed Lagos mainland a decisive 3-2 victory.
6. Nigeria’s got talent: From the young chaps Zuckerberg met on a summer code program at CcHub, to the entrepreneurs pitching their ideas to the president at the Aso Villa Demo Day; Nigeria is not short of talents. All we need is a system that brings out the best in these geniuses, not one that issues fatwa against drones, stifling innovation in the process.
7. Tech Is the Future: Technology is already replacing many of the traditional jobs we grew up admiring. Now is not the time to lament like the luddites, it’s the time to accept this harsh reality and plan ahead. Government must collaborate with the private sector to train our youths so they have the requisite skills to succeed in this century. This is the best way to predict our future by planning for it.