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Tapping the Nigerian Internet Market Goldmine

By Wayan Vota on February 24, 2010

Nigeria is a country of over 150 million people, located in sub-Saharan Africa and one of the fasted growing telecom market in the world. Let’s me take you through the emergence of the internet market in Nigeria, the potential, and how to tap into it.

Exploring the potential

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The US is a model of what internet market can become in any part of the world, the way it transformed the economy, created young billionaires and disrupted industry to create seamless market for every available product.

Now the power is shifting away from US as emerging markets are beginning to understand the impact of the internet to economic development. It is good to note that China recently overtook the US in terms of internet users, and top technology and web companies are rushing to China to tap from the potentials.

Nigeria, being an emerging market is also a big market for those who can see it now! With over 11 million internet users and massive social media adoption, the Nigerian internet market is growing heavily.

What is obtainable now…

A recent webtrendsng.com report of the Nigeria internet market found news websites are the most visited in Nigeria followed by forum, jobs, portals and the banking sector websites. As the industry grows, there are a lot of vacuum to be filled, this ranges from payment system, local content, local social networks and advertising platform. The world’s leading sites still dominate the local market as only one Nigerian site is among the top-ten websites visited by Nigerians (according to Alexa ranking).


This graph looks at the most active websites by industry in the Nigerian Internet Market in 2009. The lower the rank the higher the possibilities of untapped potentials, read full report here (PDF).

Gaining insight to tap the market

As I recently commented about the lack of understanding of the Nigerian internet market by investors as the limiting factor to tapping the goldmine. Around the globe, the internet market was stimulated by synergy of technologist and investors. Same could be applied here in Nigeria! There are number of sites that discusses the Nigerian internet market and the growing trends; some of which includes; webtrendsng.com, technologytimes.com.ng, startupsnigeria.org, and nairaland.com amongst others.

Nigerian technologist and thought leaders have been taking the evangelism of the potential of the market plus their innovations to investors. This is to intimate them about their products and market values they have. Google has identified the importance of the Nigerian internet market and will be organizing an event a week from now, to bring the technologist together, teach them about their technologies and education internet markets about Google products. It also planned invite VCs to meet up with technologist at the event

Events around the internet market this year;

  1. Google Day Nigeria: A Google sponsored event to be held this February between 18th and 20th in University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos Nigeria.
  2. Technology Outlook: An annual event organized by Technology times Magazine to bring industry leaders, bank managers, Government officials and technologist together to chart the course for the industry. This year’s event is significant as for the first time since its inception there will be a session for Web 2.0. This will enable Nigerian web technologists to meet with and take their messages to investors in the country. The event will be holding from 23rd – 25th of February 2010.
  3. Barcamp Nigeria 2010: An “unconferenced” event organized by technologist for technologist. This event was started last year and brought technologist around the country together to share their experiences and passion for the development of the industry. This year’s event will come up around May 2010 with the theme “Creating local content for Nigerian web market”.
  4. Nigerian Web Conference: The event is a brainchild of forum members on Nairaland.com, the forum that have been the most interactive and most visited Nigerian site for more than 4 years. The event also plans to bring developers together for networking and business development.
  5. Nigerian Web Strategies Summit: This event plans to educate the corporate organizations about the importance of internet to their businesses and how they can explore the possibilities of the medium. One of the challenges faced by companies in Nigeria is the fact that they don’t know what the internet can do for them hence most have refused to increase their spending on internet marketing. It will also bring together solution providers in the industry to meet with their target market for business development. It is schedule to hold between August and September 2010.

The highlighted events are the ones announced so far and many more are yet to be announced. For anyone willing to tap into the Nigerian internet market, these events are must attend as it will give room for networking with innovators and movers in the industry.

What does the future hold?

As stated earlier, Nigerian internet population currently stands at 11 million, while telephone users are well above 70 million. CIA Factbook reported about 68% literacy rate in Nigeria, this is about 102 million available market, representing just the literate population of the country. The question now remains who will tap the remaining 91 million Nigerians that are yet to come online?

It is also good to note the penetration of mobile phones in the country; given the advancement in web technologies, the web is shifting to mobile so before the remaining populations are covered, mobile internet will be very instrumental to anyone willing to explore in the country.

The Nigerian internet market is a goldmine waiting to be tapped, the development around the country is pointing to the right direction, before it becomes saturated, why not get connected to the market to harvest the fortune?

What are you seeing in the Nigerian internet market? Do you think the time is now? Or what problem do you think needs urgent solution to harness the potential?

Shittu Sheriff, better know as Possicon is the founder of webtrendsng.com.

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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks and is the Digital Health Director at IntraHealth International. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of IntraHealth International or other ICTWorks sponsors.
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6 Comments to “Tapping the Nigerian Internet Market Goldmine”

  1. ohanyido says:

    Three critical areas that ICT4Dev will play great roles in Nigeria’s development are e-commerce, e-agriculture and e-health.

  2. Wayan Vota says:

    e-commerce, e-agriculture and e-health are big fields. Can you give us more detail in how you think ICT4Dev will influence them? Are you also working in these fields?

  3. Wayan, this is interesting.

    It is now or never. If we can’t lay hold on the goldmine now. We’ll live to regret ‘cos, if we don’t others will

  4. You are absolutely right, it is a goldmine that foreign and local investors should start tapping into. Read my article on The Nigerian Online Real Estate Marketplace. http://www1.propertyportalwatch.com/2009/10/nigerian-online-real-estate-market/

  5. dammy says:

    Hope ICT n colleges would be taking more seriously as President Jonathan runs for another eight years

  6. dammy says:

    With Technology and Internet users fast increasing in Nigeria, web owners and internet users are in for a good time.

    WordPress and blogger has a good number of users and bloggers in Africa, and in Nigeria in particular.

    The earlier the Country taps into the verse resource in Technology, the better.