2020 has been one hell of a year, literally! Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a year which began with so much hope and expectations got quickly replaced with mope and desperation. COVID-19 affected many facets of life with a lot of plans being altered, set back, or permanently impaired. The Nigerian tech industry also has not been spared, with the year, in general, experiencing far less newsworthy headlines than previous years.
However, in the midst of all the chaos, there have been some laudable milestones, achievements, and news stories which 2020 will forever be remembered for as far as tech is concerned. Albeit them being few and far between, let’s take a deep dive into the top 5 most memorable tech moments of 2020.
1. Facebook Opens Its Second African Office In Lagos, Nigeria (September)
Global tech giant, Facebook announced plans to establish a Nigerian office which is to be located in the country’s commercial and tech hub, Lagos. This is coming after the first African office was open in South Africa about 5 years ago. Facebook setting up shop in Nigeria is expected to ignite a host of opportunities for skilled labor and the tech community as a whole. Professionals such as engineers, sales executives, business development execs, communication experts, and more can begin to brush up their CVs for what might be the biggest opportunities for their careers. The office location is expected to be secured and be fully operational any moment from now and the second half of 2021.
2. Netflix Launches Netflix Naija And Announces First Nigerian Original Series (February)
Who remembers this;
“N is for Naija. N is for Nollywood. N is the 14th alphabet. 14 is also how many great talents you’re looking at. N is for Netflix. But most importantly…hello, Nigeria!”
This was how Netflix officially announced its presence and focus in the Nigerian market. From a content consumer point of view, this development promises more local content for Nigerian subscribers while content creators can look forward to a bigger market and revenue streams to tap into.
3. The Nigerian Digital Revolution Officially Kickstarts, According To Jiji.ng (July)
When compared with foreign counterparts, Nigeria has arguably been lagging behind in the use of technology and the internet but if the stats released by Jiji.ng are anything to go by, it appears the pandemic and the corresponding lockdown is what helped usher Nigeria fully into the internet revolution.
During the lockdown months between March and May, Nigerian online marketplace Jiji.ng recorded over 200,000 new sellers and a total of 550,000+ new published ads. To put it in perspective, just last year, Jiji.ng celebrated having over 1,000,000 ads listed on the platform has been in business for four years prior.
4. Nigeria Sets The Trend With #DontLeaveMeChallenge (June)
In less than one week, the hashtag #DontLeaveMeChallenge which originated in Nigeria by comedian Chibuike Josh Alfred, popularly known as Josh2funny, garnered over a billion views on TikTok and more than 400k posts on Instagram. This has since grown to over two billion views and almost 1 million posts altogether on Instagram.
It became a global trend that got replicated in different local and foreign languages such as Hindu, Chinese, Arabic, German, French, and more.
5. 3 Nigerian Tech CEOs Feature On 2020’s Fortune 40 under 40 List (August)
This year, Fortune magazine releases its popular yearly 40 Under 40 influencer list, which is a global list that recognizes 40 individuals who are below the age of 40 and are considered to be influential leaders with track records in their respective fields.
Three Nigerian tech entrepreneurs and CEOs: Olugbenga Agboola of Flutterwave, a leading payment service provider serving the pan-African region and the rest of the world, Obi Ozor of Kobo360, a disruptive logistic firm from Lagos, and Abasi Ene-Obong of 54gene, African data research, services, and development company focusing on studies of African genetics in order to create solutions for underlying diseases affective everyone around the world, featured on the list having taken their respective companies to new heights amidst the coronavirus pandemic crisis.