The coronavirus pandemic has created an opportunity for tech to thrive. This was the agreement during an IG live session between co-founder of Andela, Iyin Aboyeji and CEO of Cc-Hub, Bosun Tijani. The discussion centred on how Nigeria’s’ tech sector can grow in a world where tech is the new normal.
The discussion which was hosted yesterday on Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiENigeria ) Instagram page, addressed how the country could leverage opportunity the pandemic has created to leverage tech. It also revealed some salient points techprenuers must look at if they want to seize this opportunity.
Here are some of the major takeaway from the discussion.
‘I was born into an Agege bread bakery’ – Bosun Tijani
Talking about his childhood and how he came to become a tech entrepreneur, Bosun revealed that he was “born into an Agege bread bakery” in Oyedapo, Agege. He added that his father was one of the people that innovated Agege bread.
“The traditional Agege bread started with mud ovens. The bread was made in Agege and transported to other area of lagos like Mushin, Ajegunle and Ojuelegba, which gave the bread its popularity”Bosun Tijani, CEO of Cc-Hub
Bosun expressed that from a very young age he was exposed to the trajectory of the innovations going on in the bakery. This essentially drove into becoming an innovator.
“Ayokunu is one of the most common known Agege bread because they pioneered the use of the modern oven and also started making the sliced version of the Agege bread. This opened more market and increased the popularity of the bread” Bosun said.
Bosun revealed that he did his secondary school in Abeokuta, then went on to do a diploma in Political Science and a first degree in Economics at University of Jos. He added that he was the president of the International Student Exchange Organisation (ISEC).
Speaking on his career and how he got into tech, Bosun said he worked at Delivery King, one of the companies to first try mail delivery in Nigeria. After that, he travelled to Switzerland in 2004 where he worked with the International Trade Centre to help farmers in African countries like Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda use technology to sell their goods.
He then moved to the UK where he studied information systems and management. He also worked with a consulting company that helped universities across Europe to find funding for research and advise on how to use their research to benefit the society.
According to Bosun, it was then he understood the importance of innovation and decided to come back to Nigeria to create something. He first tried his hands in fintech before realizing that it wouldn’t work then because there was no backbone for tech innovation.
“There is no country in the world that will progress without prioritizing innovation.”
He further expatiated that the discovery led to the founding of Cc-Hub.
Leveraging opportunity for tech during COVID-19
The current global pandemic has created an opportunity for tech to grow in Nigeria. However, this is not the first time the country has failed to leverage on opportunities.
“The New Normal is going to be dictated by technology”Bosun Tijani
When Iyin Aboyeji asked about what could be done differently to maximize this opportunity, Bosun Tijani said that as much as there is an opportunity for tech in this crisis, we must be responsible.
“Over the last 10 years, those who invest in the future of tech have been investing in deep tech -Argumented reality, Automation, IoT, and Application of Data Science,” Bosun said. “Yet they were struggling to find application for those techs. However, those techs have matured in the last 2-3 years. Over the last few months, the pandemic has given this tech opportunity to go out and execute without barrier.”
According to him, the crisis has removed most of the normal obstacle new innovation faces when it comes to execution. He highlighted, Zoom whose daily users grew from 10 million to over 200 million after the outbreak of the virus.
Taking Responsibility for opportunity
Talking about how a tech company can be successful, Bosun said a level of preparedness is required. He added that this preparedness comes from a place where people accept responsibility.
Similarly, he noted that if Nigeria is to maximize the opportunity the pandemic has created for tech and unlock widespread application of tech that it becomes relevant, both the Private and Public sector must take responsibility.
For the Private sector he said tech companies must string out more tech solutions, while for the public sector, the government must take responsibility for the adoption of more tech solution. He highlighted that he saw no reason why the government and private sector couldn’t work together to zero-rate education app so children can continue learning during the lockdown.
“If we continue to elect leaders who cannot help the country move forward we will be in trouble. Leaders need to take responsibilityBosun Tijani, CEO of Cc-Hub
When Iyin asked whether the private sector can usurp the power of the government, Bosun said he knows that although a lot has been lost in the last 10 years due to the nonchalance of the public sector, there have also been some gains.
He highlighted how MainOne came to Yaba and it became a major tech hub in Nigeria due to the help of the Fashola-led Lagos government.
How do you help someone who is blind to elect someone who sees. Its not possibleIyin Aboyeji, co-founder of Andela
He, however, said that if the country keeps electing people due to tribe and sentimentality, it will not move forward. As a solution, he advised that Nigerians should be educated to look at the fact and examine candidates of elections based on manifesto perspective and their previous contributions to governance.
“The pandemic is a good way to show to Nigerians that there is a cost to electing the wrong people”Bosun Tijani, CEO of Cc-Hub
Bosun Tijani expressed that both the private and the public sector have to take responsibility and put in effort into maximizing the opportunity the crisis has provided for tech.
He reiterated that tech is the new normal and that Nigerians should embrace facts and evidence over feelings when it comes to electing leaders.
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