WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE NIGERIAN COMPUTER VILLAGE
Computer Village is the largest information and communication technology accessory market in Africa located in Otigba, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria.
It sits on land originally planned by the Lagos State Government to be a residential area. Today, despite her many challenges it serves as the largest marketplace for tech gadgets in Nigeria. Much of Computer Village troubles range from theft to sale of counterfeit or unlicensed products and a government bent on relocating it, regardless, the economic impact is undisputable.
According to a former minister, Computer village generates about $2 billion annually; the community also generates over 60 million naira in levies for the Ikeja metropolitan area.
A quick visit to computer village would leave you astonished as to the hundreds of young adults working across different layers of the service sectors. Some are marketers feeding the technicians with customers needing gadget repairs and equally feeding the sellers with buyers.
It's an amazing ecosystem! However don't be fooled, you could easily get your hands burnt in computer village. Many today have sour tales of purchase gone wrong. Numerous times, the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) has had to raid the community a number of times. Personally, I have had my own fair share of awry experiences at Computer Village, but today isn't the time for narrate that.
As His Excellency, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode reemphasized the Government's age long stance to relocate Computer Village to Kantagora in Abule Egba area of the State, the news has been greeted with nostalgia in Lagos. Some are of the opinion the state should retain her initial master plan designating the area as a residential place, while others especially in the business community think computer village in her present community could be transformed and remodeled into a hive of innovation and a hub for tech startups.
Today, in the business community a number of strategic meetings are taking place to see if the current Computer Village can be salvaged. This is important because much of the growth of computer village has been fueled by creativity, spontaneity and deregulation. In contrast today, Silicon valley, California is home to the world's leading tech companies such as Apple, HP, Adobe, Twitter, Facebook etc. Silicon Valley has enriched her metropolitan area so much so that the combination of San Jose, Santa Clara and southern bay's GDP of $235 billion is nearly equal to Ireland's entire GDP of $238 Billion. Silicon Valley is also home to 74 billionaires in USD. A combination of Apple and Facebook employ about 44,000 employees.
Can the Computer Village of Otigba community become Nigeria's Silicon Valley?
Whatever the outcome may become in the near future, one thing is clear, individuals working in Computer Village are averse to the idea of relocating to Kantagora. It is in fact unclear whether the Computer Village we know can be replicated elsewhere. Whatever the case, if it survives it would be a product of a deliberate attempt to save it by the Government and private sector. Its impact will be phenomenal!