What is the future of YabaCon Valley?

by | Apr 20, 2017

Business clustering is a common trend all over the world. With similar businesses located in a common geographical location, members of these clusters typically gain competitive advantage and increased productivity as they enjoy; common infrastructures, more networking opportunities that can spur innovations, access to information amongst other benefits.

The tech industry is also home to clusters; with Silicon valley as the most reputable tech cluster worldwide and YabaCon Valley (a name that is still controversial), as the most popular in Nigeria. Housing a significant number of businesses and startups, Yaba area in Lagos state, is considered as the leading hub for high-tech innovation and development in Nigeria.

However, whether a Yaba ecosystem really exists or we only imagined it, the future of the IHQ project that birthed the Yaba cluster looks bleak.With more and more tech companies migrating from the area and others sprouting up in other areas in Lagos and other parts of Nigeria, one would wonder just how good a home Yaba is for tech companies. Konga, SureGiftsiDEA Hub, Andela; these are some of the popular businesses that have broken away from Yaba. Other companies like iRoko and Cregital didn’t even start their businesses inYaba.

Yet while some envisioned that Yaba would never make it as the leading tech hub in Nigeria eventually, others think that the dwindling Yaba dream is still worth fighting for. But is there really anything to fight for?

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Do business clusters in Yaba really benefit from being in the space? So far YabaCon Valley still cannot boast of adequate infrastructures, there’s still no significant input from the institutions of higher learning in the area to technological innovations in Nigeria and other businesses located outside Yaba do not seem to be missing anything vital.

Perhaps, it is becoming clear that Silicon Valley simply cannot be replicated in Yaba and maybe it’s okay to look forward to more successful business clusters in other areas.

But do we really need a Silicon valley in Nigeria?  In a world with improved communication channels, do businesses especially those in the tech industry really need to rely on close proximity to thrive and collaborate. Can’t people just start tech businesses wherever they deem fit without forcing a cluster like what was done with YabaCon Valley?

Maybe if we let clusters in the Nigerian tech industry grow naturally without any interference, we may end up with one that is truly beneficial.

Onyinye Uche
Onyinye Uche

Writer. Interested in EdTech and tech careers

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Precious Mmeso
Precious Mmeso
5 years ago

Well spoken. I hardly think there’s any direct need for clusters. I work from home myself. Commenting from jackobian.com

Abolaji Femi
Abolaji Femi
5 years ago

To start with, the name YabaCon Valley doesn’t sound real. It was made up and it was only a matter of time before it faded. Silicon valley wasn’t consciously built, it evolved naturally and nobody ever cares about trying to sustain it since it came naturally. The testimony of Computer village also attests to this. I think we should just let nature take its course rather than try to clone Silicon valley.

David Ameh
David Ameh
10 months ago

To me, there are obvious advantages to having clusters and my only quarell with Yabacon as an African version of Silicon valley is the lack of infrastructure and formal support in terms of enabling policies that could bring incentives and financial aids. ICT and power are essentials for any thriving tech hub

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