Investing In Research Is The Key Towards Sustaining Nigeria’s Tech Startup Economy

Nigeria possesses one of the fastest-growing tech startup ecosystems in Africa. But, in recent times these startups seem to be facing a major roadblock. While for most startups the primary mission is to garner investments, this is not the case for Nigeria.

There is no dearth of investments in the region as of now, but what these startups are lacking is a solid R&D foundation. And if they want to ensure sustainable change through their work, innovation is truly the key.

Most of these startups have decided on a way forward, and for many of them, it does not involve thinking in terms of cutting-edge tech movements. Be it data science or AI, Nigerian startups are now lacking a crucial component that will help them move forward, building solutions by bringing together innovations in technology.

Specific Tech Sectors That Will Serve As The Future of Nigerian Startups

HealthTech is one of the most burgeoning sectors globally, and this is something that Nigeria seems to be falling behind in. Ever since the pandemic, the country’s healthcare segment has been unable to run at full capacity. Investing in building tech that will help the country become self-reliant to deal with crises is truly the need of the hour.

Additionally, segments such as BioTech also yield a high return on investment. And other segments such as natal care, drug production, etc. can be researched collaboratively to bring in foreign investors. This form of research and investment will not only help the Nigerian population but also the African continent at large.

Data science is another sector where research has been very poor. Nigeria has a huge data pool and one of the most tech-savvy populations in the continent. The underutilization of this data is something that has always held back the Nigerian tech industry. The data collection process is also entrenched in corruption, leading to people’s lack of trust in data analytics.

If the current startups can perform R&D and come up with useful solutions for data collection and analytics, it will push the tech industry in the country ahead by miles. Most of the authentic data in the country still needs to be sourced from foreign organizations such as the UN and WHO, thereby showing a clear gap in the system. Startups should make it their mission to fulfil these gaps and build homegrown solutions that can serve both the people’s and the investor’s demands.

For a country which heavily relies on agriculture, AgriTech is another sector that is lacking solid R&D. While few startups such as Releaf and Kraken are working in this sector, it is largely untapped and the potential here is huge. Several problems plague the Nigerian agricultural sector, and tech can be the primary solution to these issues.

Final Words

Nigeria is at a precipice where taking the right innovative step can take the country towards becoming Africa’s tech leader. And it is clearly upon the startups in the region to lead this movement.

Instead of pursuing aspects such as immediate growth, these startups should now start playing the long game and invest as much as possible in research. If they can provide innovative solutions across the various segments then the tech industry will skyrocket, otherwise investments will dry up soon and a great opportunity will have been missed.