In reference to last week’s visit by Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg to Nigeria, the CEO & Co-founder of Seedstars World, Alisée de Tonnac has praised the impact one guy can have by just visiting a city! She responded to Le Temps by telling them it’s normal he’s visiting when Nigeria is Africa’s biggest country with 180mn and Facebook’s biggest market with over 16mn users. And then there are the rising tech stars like Pag1, Hotel.ng and Andela; or initiatives like Yaba and our own Seedspace that are developing a vibrant tech hub. Concretely, I think Zukerberg’s visit will encourage investment into the country.
The interview in full…
Mark Zuckerberg economic capital of Nigeria is a city bubbling, invents and transforms continuously. In his first trip to sub-Saharan Africa, the boss of Facebook has chosen as a destination Lagos, called the Silicon Valley of Africa. Decryption with Alisée de Tonnac, co-founder of the World Seedstars organization specializing in the research start-up in emerging countries and lived for a year in Nigeria.
Time: Why Mark Zuckerberg is now turning to Lagos?
Alisée Tonnac: Nigeria, which has 180 million inhabitants, is the largest market in Africa Facebook with over 16 million users per month. If Mark Zuckerberg wants to acquire more users, the company must settle the issue of the network, because everyone does not have access to wifi. Facebook therefore seeks to launch Express Wifi (a paid service that installs wi-fi terminals in rural areas, ie) in Nigeria.
Another important factor, the Chan-Zuckerberg foundation has invested $ 24 million in Andela company (specializing in the recruitment and training of developers of software ed). This is a very large investment on the stage tech startups in Nigeria.
– Why Lagos is considered the Silicon Valley African?
– Before we often quote Cape Town and Johannesburg as important technological scenes. For five years, this is Lagos that makes figure of Silicon Valley. It is on the outskirts of the city, Yaba, as are all the universities, the majority of consumers, but also more and more start-ups and start-up incubators.
Besides, Zuckerberg was first made in Yaba, the Co-Creation Hub (the training center and support to IT companies, ed). This popularity is also due to the cost of rent, exorbitant on the island and more affordable suburbs.
– Who are these startups increasingly present?
– These are companies like Paga (first mobile payment service in Nigeria, ed), and Andela Hotel.ng that raised millions of dollars. One of the rising stars Kangpe is the winner of the start-up competition Seedstars. It allows Africans to discuss their health problems quickly and confidentially with doctors via the web or SMS.
– What will be the influence of Lagos in the future?
– Lately there has been a slowdown in terms of investment, people are more cautious. But for 2050 it is expected a population of over 300 million: this is a huge market to conquer. On the technology scene, Lagos growth is not about to stop.