Accelerating social innovation: Lagos' hub of technological progress

Olatawura Ladipo-Ajayi, Lagos Community Manager
Lagos, 15 January 2015

Technology makes the world more efficient, but also provides an opportunity for development as a boost to the economy where the information technology (IT) sector is vibrant. African cities such as Nairobi are creating a reputation as technological hubs, especially in mobile technology. In Nigeria, Lagos is quickly becoming a well-known hub for technology as well as social enterprises.

One of these social enterprises is the Co-Creation Hub (CcHUB) in Lagos, which was created to accelerate the emergence and the application of social capital and technology in Nigeria. The organization caters to and supports technologists, entrepreneurs, investors, tech companies, academics, and hackers, helping them grow both their skills and their network. Since its creation, the CcHUB has been a bedrock for young, technologically savvy Nigerians to create and promote their own business endeavors. It is largely supported by private technology companies who recognize its importance to the economy, and its potential as an instrument for creating employment and mitigating the effects of poverty on the city's youth. Their programs include the Tech-In Series, an initiative aimed at accelerating the application of social capital and technology to solve challenges in critical areas of life in Nigeria. They also run the CcHUB Bot Club, which is an after-school program for high school students to encourage technological innovation and skills.

Another prominent technological space in Lagos is the famous IT trading and technical hub known as "Computer Village". It is the largest concentration of tech traders in West Africa, trading in computers, mobile phones, and their accessories. Like the CcHUB, it caters to individuals with various "tech" skills including developers, mobile phone and computer repairs, and alterations. This one-stop shop for all things technology serves both as a market and a training ground for those living across Lagos. It has been described as a melting pot of tech hobbyists, hardware enthusiasts, and anyone interested in the IT space. While different, these two hubs have one thing in common: an avenue to promote technological innovation and its accompanying benefits. They also serve as a source of informal education and employment to those who would otherwise lack access to technology. This role is especially important in the Computer Village.

The CcHUB does not lack for partners and funding, but more support could be given to the Computer Village, a important sector of the economy that has built itself into a force to be reckoned with. Its rise has not been unnoticed; its continuous growth has engendered plans for relocation to a larger site. This is welcome support from the city's government; however, how this will affect its activities and functions has yet to be seen.

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