In March 2023, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo announced that the Nigerian government would partner with local and international institutions to launch a $618 million (₦469 billion) fund for the country’s technology and creative sector.
The Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (iDICE) program was created to promote businesses and innovation in the digital tech and creative sectors, providing young entrepreneurs with accessible resources and support to drive growth and create jobs.
Nigeria has been looking for and supporting young investors, but many struggle to raise capital in Africa’s largest economy.
The development of startups in tech has been instrumental in Nigeria’s economy, and the youth population has spearheaded that increase.
However, the success of these critical businesses has often been hindered by the lack of access to finance, infrastructure, training, and mentorship.
This investment into the tech sector has the potential to create jobs and opportunities for Nigeria’s youth, who do not have much access to the economy.
With more capital to boost their investments and businesses, Nigeria can foster growth for the country and even inspire other African nations to continue investing in their tech industries.
Empowering the youth with the means to invest in the tech sector and economy can give them the hope that their endeavours will thrive.
Nigerian Startups at the Heart of Growth
Nigeria has one of the largest startup economies in Africa and has seen immense growth over a few years. A report from Disrupt Africa called “The Nigerian Startup Ecosystem Report 2022” revealed that 383 Nigerian tech startups raised around $2 billion (₦1.5 trillion) in funding between January 2015 and August 2022—a higher total than any other country.
Fintech is one of the largest sectors for startups, with businesses such as Flutterwave—which provides payment infrastructure for global merchants—netting a $250 million (₦190 billion) Series D round, which was the most significant round on record ever.
Being one of the top hubs for innovation, Nigeria also attracts a large number of investors. Between the same period in 2015 to 2022, 641 entities made equity investments into the country’s tech startups, far beyond the numbers of any other African country.
The growth in investors took off in 2020 and has maintained steady numbers since, showing promise for more progress and advancements in respective industries and the country as a whole. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has also been priming the country for business and preparing to welcome investments.
With more plans to create reforms for survival that take advantage of Nigeria’s resources, startups and industries may soon see more recovery, development, and prosperity that will drive more economic gain.
Technology and Access to Growth
Technology has become a great way for ordinary and young Nigerians to participate in the economy.
Online trading has emerged as a means for Nigerians to invest in financial markets and build wealth. This is because trading platforms have become more accessible and provide the necessary information for traders to take advantage of.
Tech-savvy investors use a number of analytical tools to make informed trades, the foremost of which is MetaTrader 4 (MT4). MT4 is a well-known trading platform among traders of all levels and experience, with 30 built-in technical indicators and 23 analytical tools, making it easier for investors to respond to market movements and price changes. The platform has over more than 200 trading instruments and six asset classes, giving traders multiple options to consider.
Trading and investing in financial markets with the help of technology also present more financial opportunities for the unbanked who don’t have access to traditional financial systems.
Mobile apps such as Halo Invest provide a digital platform for investing, which is now within reach of everyday citizens who can start off with small amounts.
With many young Nigerians owning smartphones, mobile platforms can make investing easier and less intimidating for beginners. More individual, non-professional investors in the market also help stabilize it, lowering the risk of price crashes and providing liquidity to stocks in times of turmoil.
Increased access to financial gain through things like trading can help support young Nigerian entrepreneurs in their endeavors or equip them with more knowledge on financial markets that can prove useful to employers. It presents a multitude of opportunities for advancement in the tech industry and beyond.
Youth at the Forefront
The technology sector presents hope and opportunity for Nigeria’s young people. However, various barriers have made it difficult for many to enter the working world and land stable jobs in the industry.
Around 40% of 15-34 year-olds in Nigeria are unemployed, and despite many of them having a degree or diploma, they often have to settle for low-paying jobs unrelated to their field of study if they want to find work.
Many also find difficulty accessing training or guidance, which can be a hindrance in the fast-paced tech landscape. Even with talent and eagerness to work, young Nigerians have limited opportunities and knowledge that will allow them to build employable skills and put them to use for their livelihood and the country’s growth.
These limitations have led much of the country’s youth to want to start businesses or take control of their own financial and work situation.
Startups have become popular ventures among young entrepreneurs, but even though they’ve been crucial to Nigeria’s economy, many fail without the proper support. Issues like these are what the iDICE and other new policies are aiming to target.
Young people need guidance and access to adequate skills-building and training to sustain their businesses and ease them into employment in the tech sector; otherwise, Nigeria may lose out on a population with great potential and capabilities, mainly since much of the youth are engaged in the digital and online world.
If the country can continue to foster an environment that can offer support to startups and young investors, further growth can be achieved for the tech sector, Nigeria, and even the whole of Africa.