Ever worked with a Nigerian? If not, you likely will soon. Nigeria's tech community is in ascendance. Surging demographics, rising connectivity, and the proliferation of remote work are rocketing young Nigerians into the software industry.
Tech CEOs have woken up to the opportunity. Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Ma, Sundar Pichai, Jack Dorsey, and Nat Friedman have all visited Lagos in recent years. Both Google and Microsoft have setup offices. Facebook just announced one too.
Why should you care? There are more under 25 year olds in Nigeria today than in the US. Rising connectivity is enabling them to self-educate and hustle their way into tomorrow's jobs. Understanding what's going on in Nigeria will help you make sense of the changing landscape of education and work at home.
When I speak with young Nigerians in tech, I feel energized. Not only because of their hustle and rising power in the global economy, but also because of their civic spirit.
I first visited Nigeria in 2016. At the time, I was starting to feel jaded by venture capital in the US and was fascinated by Lagos' small but vibrant tech community.
Not knowing anyone, I booked an AirBnB in Yaba, Lagos' startup neighborhood. It came with an amazing host, Tayo. He worked as a software developer and graciously introduced me to his friends. One of which was Emmanuel Adegboye.
Emmanuel exudes a calm industriousness that's common in someone who's found what they want to work on in life. He articulates his mission as building Africa's entrepreneurial talents. When we first met he was a project manager for Venture Garden Group, a Nigerian startup builder. Later, he took a job running an entrepreneurship center at Andela, a software developer staffing firm. Today, he leads a startup studio focused on urban innovation and organizes educational events for the founder community in his free time.
Emmanuel and I a few years later in Boston.