AFRICANGLOBE – After a week’s visit to Africa that included meetings in Lagos and Nairobi, Executive Chairman and former CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt has labelled Nairobi as the silicon valley of Africa.
“Nairobi has emerged as a serious tech hub and may become the African leader, “Schmidt said on his Google+ post yesterday.
He added that “A combination of relatively stable politics, the Kenyan legal system, and a benign climate seem to attract a significant share of foreign investment.
Incubators are hosting potential solutions to many problems, including connecting M-Pesa (their mobile money solution on simple phones using SMS) with payment systems for local stores. If they manage to get through the upcoming March elections without significant conflict, they will grow quickly.”
During his visit to Nairobi, Eric Schmidt toured Kenya’s first innovation hub, the iHub. He hung out with the techies, visited some of the startups there and gave a presentation at Strathmore University about the importance of education to enable young people solve the world’s most challenging problems.
In his post, Eric Schmidt said “Rwanda is a jewel with a terrible past” and Nigeria has an “international image problem.”
He describes Nigerians as entrepreneurial, stylish, educated people who have the belief that their country can emerge as the next Brazil.
Eric Schmidt however said that “With 170 million citizens, and a record breaking eleven years of civilian elected government, the compound growth and the shared memory of real internal conflict almost guarantees (its) short term success. Future growth of Nigeria should help with its international image problem, as the real story of its success gets out.”
On connectivity, the Google boss said, “The Internet in Africa will be primarily a mobile one.” “Information is power, and more information means more choices.”
“The demographic dividend in Africa of young people is their greatest hope, in my opinion. Today high rates of unemployment show an economy underperforming to its true potential. This new generation expects more, and will use mobile computing to get it. Optimism is appropriate for Africa, as the people we met will do much more with less than we can imagine, and the devices and systems built in the first world will be used in the most creative ways in the emerging new world of Africa,” Schmidt added.
In a related development the much awaited historic Konza Technology City, which is equated to the famous Silicon Valley in the United States of America, is now a reality after the official launch by Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki on Wednesday.
This now opens gates for the developers and investors to start construction at the new city dubbed Silicon Savannah, which is expected to brand the country as a global destination of choice for technology innovations.
By; Oluwabusayo Sotunde