Following the visit of Facebook Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Mark Zuckerberg to Yaba’s Silicon Hub, Funke Opeke, the Chief Executive Officer of MainOne, stated that the visit is a validation of the energy and vibrancy of Nigeria’s tech industry despite the infrastructure challenges.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Town Hall Q & A Session with Zuckerberg for developers and entrepreneurs in Lagos, Ms. Opeke stressed the enormous potential within Nigeria’s technology ecosystem that currently lies untapped and underutilised. According to her, the current challenges the country faces from the dwindling oil revenue which have precipitated a difficult socioeconomic climate provide an opportunity to channel the energy of the country’s large youth population towards solving the country’s problems. She listed several Nigerian-grown technology companies that have achieved global recognition such as ccHub, Andela, PagaTech, BudgIT, Hotels.ng, Konga, Wakanow, and MainOne among others as the country’s success stories and stated that there remains immense opportunities for technological growth and job creation in Nigeria.
Ms. Opeke expressed confidence in the growing start-up technology scene across Africa while articulating the need for increased support for the ecosystem. “We feel privileged to have been a vital part of deepening the start-up and innovation ecosystem in Nigeriaa, especially with our investment in fiber-optic infrastructure to support the Yaba iHQ – Innovation Headquarters project in partnership with ccHub, Technovision and Lagos State Government, which Zuckerberg has described as an impressive initiative.”
She continued, “Zuckerberg’s visit to Lagos spotlights Nigeria as an emerging tech hub and places the country on a higher pedestal in the global tech world. This will only encourage more investors to pay attention to what is going on here. The visit also validates the Co-Creation Hub project and the vision by Bosun Tijani and Femi Longe, six years ago, to establish an innovation centre for start-up tech-oriented businesses, and their efforts in create an enabling environment for these companies. Just a few weeks ago, the ccHub also hosted Senator Markey of the US Senate and several Congresswomen on a tour to promote the need for improved Internet connectivity for economic development in Nigeria. We are so proud of these Nigerians who are putting our country on the Digital map. ”
As West Africa’s leading connectivity and data centre services provider, and home-grown company, MainOne is committed to supporting the start-up ecosystem to ensure the socio-economic development of Africa through the creation of sustainable businesses and enterprises. The company already supports innovation through partnerships including Co-Creation Hub, Andela, 440.ng, Delta State Innovation Hub, and Hackerspace in Ghana and has backed initiatives to develop technology penetration via sponsorship of Demo Africa, the national software competition organized by the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) and Paradigm Initiative Nigeria’s TENT programmes, among others.