2018 has been a big year for tech in Nigeria. Technology moved beyond the Nigerian government rhetoric and became more mainstream than ever before. Internet penetration is at an all-time high, startups are raising incredible rounds of funding and tech innovations are now truly disrupting sectors outside finance.
But beyond these positives, in 2018 we also had several negatives. Absence of viable government led tech initiatives, realization that Nigeria’s has poor digital protection laws, among other things.
Regardless though, 2018 has truly been an incredible year for technology in Nigeria. And it has set the tone for what to expect in 2019. Here are 6 incredible top trends to look out for in 2019 in Nigerian tech.
App Stores Will Become Quite Boring For Nigerians
Globally, the Google and Apple app stores remain highly dynamic with interesting contents flying in from several segments. On a localized level however, these app stores are not producing a lot of local content. List of most downloaded or trending apps and games don’t offer a lot to choose from either. The list is dominated by already popular or foreign apps, so users get very little to choose from.
We predict this problem will continue in 2019 unless Nigerian developers begin to up their game and launch more interesting contents on the app stores. This is definitely one of the top trends to look out for in 2019.
More Startup Funding From Development Institutions
Development institutions are going to play a huge role in startup investing in Nigeria and Africa generally. In previous years, these institutions invested in government led initiatives. But today, they are increasingly bypassing governments and investing directly in businesses providing value. This trend has been up for a while, but in 2018 these institutions have played a key role in startup financing in Nigeria.
Many of these institutions have already made investments in the continent. They include: International Finance Corporation (IFC), Proparco, UNICEF, Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) Group, European Investment Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB). They will be one of the top trends to look out for in 2019.
Telecom companies will increasingly play a key role in the financial sector in 2019. Following the release of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) draft of the payment service bank license, some telcos have begun making moves to pounce on the industry. MTN for instance, says it intends to get a license and launch a mobile money service as early as Q2 2019. SO expect Airtel and Glo to also be in the running.
2019 could actually be the year “foldable smartphones” make their debut. Foldable smartphones are not the old “open and close” Motorola Razor types we used in the past. Rather, they’re devices that can be folded into to smartphones and unfolded into tablets. Sounds pretty cool, right? Let’s keep our fingers crossed as this is one of the top trends to look out for in 2019.
Chatbots will be more mainstream in 2019. Chatbots work as virtual assistants. They can provide support for mundane and sometimes tasking issues like customer support. In 2018 a few Nigerian banks used them to allow customers perform transactions and carry out other tasks. But thanks to the availability of web solutions, chatbots don’t need much work to integrate. So expect more businesses to add this feature in 2019.
5G is coming — and it's going to change the way you use your TV and internet. https://t.co/9NyX3JJhYc— CNBC (@CNBC) December 24, 2018
Although 5G broadband is the new craze in the telecom industry, it may not get much love from Nigerian telecos in 2019. According to MTN, Nigeria is yet to harness its current 4G capabilities, so rushing to introduce 5G won’t be smart from a business point of view. Although the NCC has 2020 timeframe to roll out 5G, telcos say they need the 5G compliant phones to hit the market first before making serious moves.
Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!