Tech Innovations Driving Nigeria’s Future: From Startups to Big Players

Tech Innovations Driving Nigeria’s Future: From Startups to Big Players

Technology expands non-stop worldwide, and Africa is no exception. Despite the different challenges, internet access has massively grown in Nigeria over the years, with over 122 million active users in 2023, more than half the country’s total population.

Thanks to these improvements in connectivity, more and more people have been able to access music and other areas of culture and education, improving their overall lifestyle.

Many others have also managed to fund start-ups, which has even led to investment from foreign countries like the United Kingdom and the United States, setting Nigeria as a potential economic leader in the region.

Solutions to a Changing Economy

Over the last two decades, Nigeria has experienced remarkable economic development, which has helped it become the fourth-biggest economy on the continent. However, that growth hasn’t come without some shortcomings.

Due to a lack of investment in bank infrastructure and digitalisation, many Nigerians have faced payment issues, leading to various start-ups like Paystack, a payment processing service founded in 2015 that works in Nigeria and other African countries like Kenya and Egypt.

There’s also OPay, a payment app backed by the Opera Browser that has become one of Nigeria’s biggest payment apps. With 40 million users, OPay lets users pay in shops and websites through the app so they can enjoy Lucky Blue crash or other games.

E-Commerce Start-Ups

With the introduction of better communication and payment services, the next step was the creation of new online shops, and that’s exactly what happened in Nigeria.

 

Since 2017, the country has seen the emergence of numerous e-commerce start-ups, which has made this market grow and reach projected revenues of USD 6.4 billion, according to the latest Statista study.

 

One of the companies that made the most of this boom was, without a doubt, Sabi. A B2B company founded in 2020, Sabi has enabled digital infrastructure for hundreds of companies and merchants, allowing them to buy or sell their products abroad in a few years.

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Another company that has fully benefited from the communication improvements in Nigeria is Jumia. Founded in 2012, the company has often been referred to as Africa’s Amazon due to its online shop’s vast number of products.

 

Thanks to the improvements of the last years, Jumia has become one of the successful start-ups in Nigeria, making USD 180 million in revenue and covering nine other African countries, such as Egypt and Morocco.

Technology at the Service of Health

Health has always been a delicate topic in Nigeria, with the country having very underdeveloped infrastructure, few medics and an average life expectancy of 53–54 years, according to UNICEF’s last report in 2023.

 

However, like banking, healthcare issues have also drawn many investors and start-ups like Africa Health Holding Limited, a company dedicated to telemedicine. This company allows people to receive consults, follow-ups, and treatment from their mobile app at any time of the day.

 

Another start-up that has contributed to this sector is RelianceHMO. It focuses on health insurance for companies and allows workers to receive quality medical healthcare for themselves and at least four other family members.

What Holds the Future for Nigeria Tech Startups?

Nigeria still presents many challenges for the tech start-up scene, such as bureaucratic hurdles,  lack of funding, and a now very competitive market that makes it hard for newcomers to succeed.

 

As if that weren’t enough, most start-ups are centralised in Lagos, forcing future entrepreneurs and innovators to move there if they want support for their projects.

 

With that said, not everything is bad news. Inflation in the country is projected to decrease during upcoming years, opening more opportunities for new start-ups and the development of newer technology like AI.