AS OUTGOING NIGERIAN Minister of Communication Technology, and before that, country managing director for Accenture, Dr Omobola Johnson presumably had her pick of jobs when she left office in 2015. That she embarked on a new career as a venture capitalist speaks volumes.
Johnson joined TLcom, a venture capital (VC) firm founded in 1999 and now extremely active in Africa, with investments in, among others, Nigerian startups like Kobo360 and Andela. She speaks of the major opportunity that exists in the Nigerian tech space, and one that has not gone unnoticed.
“The country is at a point whereby the population is set to reach 400 million by 2050 and youth unemployment still poses a huge problem. This means entrepreneurs are set to play a crucial role in providing jobs for the next generation,” she says.
Increasingly, these entrepreneurs are on the receiving end of investor backing, and not just from Johnson’s TLcom. According to the latest annual African Tech Startups Funding Report released by Disrupt Africa, funding for tech companies on the continent reached record levels in 2018, with 210 startups raising over $330 million.
Another major development of the year was the ascendance of Nigeria to the top of the pile. South Africa has led the way in terms of investments for a number of years, but fell behind Nigeria for the first time in 2018. In all, 58 Nigerian tech startups raised $95 million, almost one-third of the conti