Nigeria has experienced tremendous growth in her ITC sector in recent past, and has one of the fastest growing telecommunications markets in the world. The major players in its telecommunication market includes operators like MTN, Etisalat, Airtel and Globacom.
The Country has consistently recorded triple-digit growth rates annually since 2001. Total connected lines stand at 159,879,295 as at February 2013, out of which 116,601,637 of the lines are active, with a total installed capacity of 226,642,085.
The smart phone market is not left out of this boom, with battle on who controls Nigeria’s smartphone prosperous market continues to intensify as the country becomes the hotspot for manufacturers of smartphone devices. Nigeria is said to be the fastest growing market globally for smartphones.
Research by GfK early last year shows that sales of smartphones in Nigeria doubled in 2012, as it was calculated that Nigerians spent an average of N92 billion buying 1.82 million smart phones last year, yet the market is thirsty of affordable smartphones. Recently, some Nigerians in Diaspora who saw opportunity in the smartphone market returned home with a huge investment in smartphone manufacturing, Solo Phone, as they deployed content and price as unique selling points to compete against the giants.
Other Major players in the smartphone market include Samsung, Techno, Nokia, Apple, and Lenovo. Techno, which is a Chinese based company has gained a successful market entry, and is currently number two in the smart phone market share. In order to achieve success, they adopted a market entry model of "Think Global and Act Local". Lenovo, the largest PC manufacturer in the world is also fighting its way to gain a substantial market share in the smart phone sector.
Some parts of the world may have a well developed software industry better than what is obtainable in Nigeria. However, the country is making serious effort to meet up with the trend in technology. Once, the country was known for being contented as a consuming technology, but recent events have showcased its citizens producing software for local consumption to the point that foreign organisations are looking critically at investing in the sector.
Taking a look at the retail e-Commerce business in Nigeria, its impact cannot be over- emphasised, considering the fact that Nigeria attracted over N205.4 billion worth of fresh investments into her retail sector in the last two years.
According to a UK entrepreneur Ivan Mazour, CEO of Ometria
, a software company providing an ecommerce intelligence platform to retailers; Ecommerce is the next frontier for emerging markets — a wave that is unstoppable in the evolution of retail. The MINT countries (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey) are the future, and Nigeria is the most interesting of this new group.
The major players in the e-Retail business include Konga, Jumia, Gloo, Buyam, Mystore, Taafoo, Kaymu, and many more that are springing up every day.
Despite this boom in ecommerce, the sector is still faced with a few challenges. First, is the poor logistic network in the country. Although, this could also be a nitch for investors willing to provide a solution to this problem.
Second, is the payment system in the country. Cards are not efficient. There cases of customers complaints where funds are been deducted from their account without crediting the retailers. And various numerous card complaints. As a result, customers prefer to pay by bank deposits. However, with the cash on delivery option provided by most online retailers, Nigerians feel safe and comfortable shopping online.
The payment system is also a huge opportunity for investors who wish to provide a suitable solution to address the problem.
Indeed, there has been a boom in the sectors discussed above from, telecommunication to ecommerce. Software development on the other hand is yet to experience a significant boom. However, other sectors are yet to be un exploited and are key in the national development. These sectors include:
- Educational Sector
- Health Sector
- Security Sector
- Finacial Sector
With the current wave in technology in Nigeria, it can be argued that a lot of work still needs to be done in order to meet the craving demand of its population for innovative technology. There is need for constant innovation and creativity even in the areas that have experienced massive boom. Technology is changing the way we compete, as a result, businesses are seeking for new innovations to automate their business to be ahead of competitors. More percentage of the population are now part of the technology enthusiast stage of the technology adoption life cycle. This indicates that Nigeria will be a pace setter for other African countries in terms of technology while reducing the gap in technological advanced countries.
Feel free to comment below on other opportunities or challenges in Nigeria's technology sector.