When startups in Africa are discussed, people often generalize the continent as a whole. But it seems that Nigerian startups in particular are making big strides toward being the future of business on the continent. A slew of investments and ideas suggest the country will be the most prominent for some time.
In April 2014, the Nigerian economy added 89 percent to the GDP literally overnight. After adjusting its figures, the country is now worth $510 billion, easily surpassing the now number two South Africa at $370 billion.
The country did not have to squeeze the numbers, per se, but simply updated figures that were two decades old. The economy had been growing steadily at 7 percent per year but this year, the appropriate values to the banking industry and the burgeoning film scene were added, among other areas.
Despite all the other numerous problems the country faces—like ranking 153 out of 187 on the U.N. Human Development Index—its position as number one should prove to be a much needed boon.
And so far it has, at least for the startups that are quickly appearing in the country.
In the technology sector, incubation center Co-Creation Hub has made $500,000 available in order to fund ideas and experimentation. Startups will be given between $10,000 and $25,000 to clarify ideas and work out issues with business models.
Other companies are excited about the future of tech in Nigeria as well. Microsoft Corporation will sponsor the 2014 DEMO Africa Event, which is scheduled to take place in late September. The event will feature the top 40 startups from the country.
One company featuring at this convention will be Integrated Medics. In a country that needs to advance its healthcare as quickly as possible, it is certainly a highlight that a medical care startup will be featured. The startup plans and promises to deliver smooth and mostly automated healthcare features.
The outlook for the Nigerian economy overall is positive. As the country continues to grow (it’s expected to surpass the United States in total population by 2050), it must also continue to rely on both small and big business to keep its place as the number one African economy.
– Andrew Rywak