The Federal Government has plans to plant Tech Hubs all across the nation, as part of the current administration’s “change agenda”.
Vanguard reports that Vice President, Yemi Osibajo revealed the plans at the signing a Memorandum of Understanding on ‘’ICT for Change Empowerment Programme’’ between the Federal Government and Huawei Technologies Co. Nig Ltd at the State House. Said Osibajo:
“We are looking at developing existing hubs and to see how we can empower those who are already working in the various ICT hubs.’’
Osibajo furthered stated the intentions of his administration to expand the scope of technology and incubate more startups, as a means of providing young people with “quick and decent jobs” to enhance their lives and the economy.
I don’t know about “quick” jobs. What I however found most interesting in the Vanguard report is the fact that VP Osibajo recognized the existence of a Yaba Technology cluster:
According to him, some of the ICT organisations were already growing into a silicon valley in Yaba, Lagos, and many people are engaged in programming and developing applications.
It’s probably safe to assume that the FG is planning to replicate the success of ‘Yabacon Valley’, Lagos in other Nigerian states. Admirable an ambition as it may appear, what history has taught us is governments cannot successfully pull off clusters of any kind (cue Tinapa); they just sort of happen. Government involvement is usually limited to creating an enabling environment or nurturing existing ecosystems.
However, whether or not an enabling environment is made available, tech clusters are still likely to happen wherever you have a sizeable gathering of like minds. The nHub in Northern Nigeria readily comes to mind. Amidst the insurgency and all the bad press that region gets, a tech hub still managed to spring up, completely void of government involvement.
What do you think? Do you find government intervention in the creation of nationwide tech clusters a welcome development?