‘MANY CHALLENGES DIVERTING TECH INVESTORS FROM NIGERIA’
Technology experts in Nigeria have said that many challenges are diverting the sector’s investments to other stable economies on the continent. This submission was a fallout from the recent move by Twitter to site its Africa headquarters in Ghana, ahead of Nigeria. The co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Twitter, Jack Dorsey made the announcement on Monday, 26th of April 2021 on the platform.
His Tweet reads: “Twitter is now present on the continent. Thank you Ghana and Nana Akufo-Addo.” Responding, President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, on his official Twitter page revealed that the partnership was agreed upon after a virtual meeting with Jack. Some stakeholders, while responding to the development, described the situation as very bad for Nigeria, which has a more user base than Ghana in Africa. Egypt has the highest user base on the continent.
Checks showed that Ghana as of January had 16 million Internet users with 28.78 per cent on the Twitter platform, whereas Nigeria, which according to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had 148 million Internet users as of February, Statista.com puts Twitter users in the country 61.4 per cent. Speaking with The Guardian, the Head, Nigeria operations, Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), Olusola Teniola, said the business environment in Ghana is more conducive than in Nigeria. He said the cost of doing business in Nigeria is much higher and the AfCFTA Secretariat is going to be headquartered in Accra.
Teniola said corporate governance has improved tremendously in Ghana relative to Nigeria. “We are not introducing investor-friendly policies and incentives that will attract FDIs. We are battling with currency devaluation and risks associated with Return on investments due to uncertainty in the government’s focus on clamping down online freedom of speech and on the introduction of the Digital Social Bill.
“Finally, insecurity in Nigeria is a big challenge and threat to any investor at this moment and until Nigeria is able to address this, it will be a deterrent to any willing investor that will seek safer climes for their money,” Teniola stressed. On his part, the Chairman, Mobile Software Solution, Chris Uwaje, said the challenge may persist because Nigeria does not have serious reliable, trustworthy policies and no Antitrust laws.
Uwaje added that lack of reliable business and investment stability assurances are huge challenges to investment in Nigeria. According to him, this is the reason most Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) fail in this clime. To telecoms expert, Kehinde Aluko, Nigeria lost another opportunity to bridge the unemployment gap in the country.
According to him, Twitter sitting its Africa office in Nigeria would have been another opportunity to create jobs, both direct and indirect, “but do you blame Twitter. So much restiveness in the country, insecurity everywhere, it is really bad.”