Africa’s Technology Hub Rises in a Congested Lagos Neighborhood

Trends West Africa

The fading facades of century-old buildings in a neighborhood of the Nigerian megacity of Lagos house a vibrant technology cluster that’s caught the eye of Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google.

The Yaba area, home to the Yaba College of Technology and the University of Lagos, is an emerging technology ecosystem — from fewer than 10 startups in 2013 to more than 60 today, including businesses like booking site Hotels.ng. It also hosts digital labs for Nigeria’s oldest bank, First Bank of Nigeria Ltd., and Stanbic IBTC, the local subsidiary of Africa’s largest lender.

“Lagos, like other major cities such as Nairobi and Accra, is at the height of this exciting expansion in innovation across tech, with Yaba quickly finding itself at the center,” said Chimdindu Aneke, program manager of platform partnerships for sub-Saharan Africa at Facebook, which last year launched a hub space in the neighborhood.

Fola Olatunji-David, the head of startup success services for Google Launchpad Africa that started a development boot camp in Yaba in 2017, said Lagos has a “buoyant, characteristic ‘anything-can-happen’ feel,” fed by budding entrepreneurs seeking to address socioeconomic gaps with Google technology. Continue reading

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