The technology sector was fully represented by its youngest and finest at the recently concluded the national honours investiture ceremony at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, former CEO, Flutterwave; Ezra Olubi, CTO and Co-Founder, Paystack; and Shola Akinlade, CEO and Co-Founder Paystack were conferred with the rank of the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON), while Ola Brown, healthtech investor and Founder, Flying Doctors Healthcare Investment Company was conferred with the Member of the Federal Republic rank.
With projected revenue from Nigeria’s fintech sector exceeding USD 500M, the industry would likely not have become the largest in Africa without early investors like Ola Brown.
An investor in almost 50 tech companies, including an early version of Flutterwave and one of the earliest institutional investors in Paystack, exiting in 2020 when global fintech giant Stripe acquired the company for $200M, Ola Brown typifies the growing pattern of young people nurturing, growing and winning together within a self-made ecosystem built on trust and daring courage.
Alongside other investors who bet early on the emerging technology sector at the time, their capital infusion provided tech founders sufficient capital to build world class companies which have now gained them the much coveted national honours in Nigeria.
Speaking during the investiture ceremony, President Muhammadu Buhari said “Citizens who contribute to national development deserve to be encouraged and appreciated. The screening and selection of nominees for this year’s award as always, followed established broad criteria including but not limited to; consistent and meaningful participation in community and/or national development and remarkable achievement in any field of expertise where the person’s activities in that field have made significant contributions to the attainment of national goals and objectives.”
Flying Doctors Healthcare Investment Company, focused on investments in technology-enabled healthcare and wellness businesses, fintech startups as well as public private partnerships (PPP) healthcare infrastructure projects in Africa, played a pivotal role in the fight against COVID-19 spread in Nigeria.
From the design and manufacture of the first COVID-19 mobile testing booth and vehicle in West Africa which reduced the risk of infection for health workers by up to 90 percent to owning and utilizing the isopod, an advanced medical transport unit that enables the efficient air transfer of patients with highly contagious diseases, Brown’s contributions to the business, financing and operations of healthcare in Nigeria as well as landmark achievements during the global epidemic were considerations during the selection process.
The technology industry in Nigeria continues to grow and expand through a well-oiled mechanism within the ecosystem that encourages cross investments where people invest in each other, and win together.