BusinessDay

Here are five highlights of Nigeria’s tech industry in 2021

The Previous year has undoubtedly gone, leaving some favourable and unfavourable moments to remember in the technology space in Nigeria, as a combined result of circumstances or progress of each, and here are some of the moments.

MainOne acquisition

Equinix, a California-based digital infrastructure company in December 2021, made the move to acquire Nigeria’s data centre and connectivity solutions provider, MainOne at $320 million.

The Company confirmed the acquisition, saying Equinix was now in a position to help grow digital infrastructure investment across Africa, which had been the long-term vision of the Nigerian company.

Funke Opeke, the CEO of MainOne, while speaking on the acquisition stated that Equinix will accelerate the long-term vision to grow digital infrastructure investments across Africa, while thanking the shareholders led by Fola Adeola, MainStreet Technologies, AFC, PAIDF, FBN, Polaris, and AfDB for investing in the MainOne vision to bridge the digital divide in Africa.

“With similar values and culture to what we have jointly built-in twelve years, Equinix is the preferred partner for our growth journey. The MainOne team is excited about the partnership created through the acquisition, and we look forward to building our next chapter together,” Opeke said.

Nigeria’s 5G auction

On 13, December 2021, MTN Nigeria, alongside Mafab Communications Ltd emerged winners of the 5G Spectrum Bid auctioned by the Nigeria Communication Commission, (NCC).

Both companies came top after some rounds of bidding using the Ascending Clock Auction System.

However, this means MTN and Mafab, an indigenous company, will have the 100 MHz lots each in the 3.5 Gigahertz (GHz) spectrums for the Fifth Generation (5G) network license.

The two companies are expected to pay $275 million each to the NCC for the two slots between now and February 2022.

Read also: How Flutterwave’s Send will disrupt remittances in Africa

The Nigerian Start-up Bill

The Nigeria Startup Bill project, an initiative by Nigeria’s tech start-up ecosystem and the Presidency to harness the potential of the country’s digital economy through co-created regulations came to the limelight toward the end of 2021 after its approval by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) while undergoing other processes to ensure the Final approval.

Isa Ali Pantami, the Minister of communications and Digital economy noted that the Bill has been approved by FEC as he promised to be in support of the bill till it is finally approved.

“The Federal Executive Council has approved the Nigeria Startup Bill and has also directed my humble self, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy and also the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to ensure that we immediately liaise with and transmit them to the National Assembly to begin their legislative process of converting it into a law,” Pantami said.

The Bill will ensure that Nigeria’s laws and regulations are friendly, clear, planned, and work for the tech ecosystem while enabling a stable and protected environment for startups in the country.

Nigeria’s crypto ban

On 5 February 2021, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) released an address to banks and other financial institutions with the directive that transactions in cryptocurrencies and facilitating payment for cryptocurrency exchanges were prohibited.

The CBN instructed all banks and other financial institutions to further identify individuals or entities that transact in cryptocurrency or operate cryptocurrency exchanges and close their accounts.

However, the address brought different reactions from the Nigerian public with many expressing concern about the negative effect it could have on the country’s growing cryptocurrency market and innovation in financial technology.

Facebook Changes to Meta

On 28 October, at Facebook Connect augmented and Virtual reality conference, 2021, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook introduced Meta, which brings together the Facebook apps and technologies under one new company brand.

The changing of Facebook to Meta reflects the company’s growing ambitions beyond social media.

According to the company, Meta’s focus will be to bring the Metaverse to life and help people connect, find communities, and grow businesses.