You are quite right however , a lot is already happening in Nigeria.
For example last year Google Play Merchant payments was launched in Nigeria, the first country in Africa where this has happened.
Also last month Android One was also launched in NIgeria, (First in country in Africa as well).
I know that these are no where near the scale of Project loon and self driving cars but I think its a good start
However This is true about pretty much everywhere in the world . In Kenya , people complain that everything happens in Nairobi
Even in the USA, it looks as if everything revolves around Silicon valley.
In the case of Nigeria, i think that it is changing slowly.
There are now efforts to bring the tech fun to other regions in the country.
I think that at the end of the day , they key to solving this is increased collaboration between regions.
Devs outside Lagos should try and invite more people from the Lagos ecosystem to their events and also try and attend events in Lagos.
That way you can have exchange of ideas and diffusion of innovation.
I know that the GBG team has been restrategizing to take the program to the next level and you should be getting some information from them soon.
If you have seen any of our communication recently , You will know that getting the next 1 billion people online is a huge initiative that Google is currently driving. Africa falls under this initiative.
The recent launch of Android One in the region is an example of one of the ways that Africa is now beginning to reap the benefits of this drive.
Why not indeed?
I totally agree with your point.
I for one believe that one should always strive to be at the vanguard of anything they are involved in and I would challenge all Africans to do the same
There is actually a lot of serious enterprise development happening in Nigeria.
Companies like Parkway Projects where I used to work have made a name for themselves building enterprise software for banks that have powered their operations across Africa.
I however do see your point.
I am not sure I have a solution but I believe that until a home grown tech company (or tech entrepreneur) makes it to the front page news or becomes a house hold name for good reasons (not technology news, but daily news) in Africa, the local tech industry will continue to be looked down on by those who are not in the field.
I want to believe that is what all of us in the tech field are fighting for…the day when you will see Tony Elumelu and Mark Essien , Aliko Dangote, Chike Maduegbuna and Sim Shagaya exchanging ideas on the front page of Thisday news papers.
@nke_ise You still didn’t give a good ans to the question, in my opinion. Hackathons and simple programs like that only help existing developers fine tune their skills. I am a self taught software developer, but a computer science graduate as well. Some of the best software developers in the world never got conventional computer science degree or went to a university for that matter. Anyone can code, and its the diversity that brings about the greatness in tech solutions, and as a tech company like google, it goes against your ideology to blame nigerian educational system. Why can google organise or sponsor coding bootcamp that teach people who are interested in learning to code, and providing fundamental infrastructure which they would need like what Dev Bootcamp does, or Hack Reactor.
Earlier this year i organised a coding boot-camp www.thehackacademy.org, i know i wrote google to provide support and you guys were not interested. I found out that the problem is people without programming experience think coding is rocket science, and once they understand basic HTML and CSS they become very intrigued and they want to go all the way. If you guys really want to help the ecosystem. Don’t blame the government, cause technology is meant to solve the problems the government cant.
I did not mention nor blame the government…or anyone .
Note that the answer to the education question is not for the government alone to provide. I for one believe that the education sector is massive business opportunity for those who decide to take it on.
Proof of this is in the fact that many of the top universities in the world are not owned by the government
I believe you meant : “Why can’t Google…”?
We actually do a lot of this through our community programs, an example is the Developer Study Jams program which held all over sub saharan Africa this year which was focused on mobile development on Android.
Maybe I should clarify something.
There are self taught coders and school dropouts who have gone on to start companies that have changed the world.
There are self taught coders in and school dropouts in Nigeria and Africa who have also gone on to do amazing things that have changed the tech landscape as we knew it.
In fact like I mentioned in this Radar chat , I myself belong to that group of self taught coders.
But lets understand one thing, In my opinion it will be very tough for us to have innovation and technical expertise on the scale of what is happening in the US, Europe , India or China without a functional educational system. That educational system i refer to can be the conventional one we know today or a disrupted version.
The Hackathons, Codelabs and contests as well as other initiatives that are are beginning to happen today in our ecosystem are awesome, but will not (in my opinion ) by themselves fill the resource gap that is facing the region.
This article from The Punch Newspaper says that about 1.8 million graduates enter the job market yearly. Let us assume for the sake of this chat that 0.5% of them are graduates of ICT related courses (e.g. computer science/Engineering , Electronic Engineering , Information systems etc). That is 9,000 graduates.
How many systems outside the educational system in Nigeria today can consistently guarantee output at that scale in this region? None that I know of.
Can you imagine the impact on the ecosystem if we were able to find a way to boost the quality of the outcome such that those 9,000 graduates ALL knew how to at least create a basic database driven web or mobile application from scratch or could setup a network of 3-4 computers unassisted?
In Africa today, students who can do this straight out of school are seen as Whizkids while in India students who can do this and only this are barely up to scratch.
One impact of this would be that an average startup will be able to hire at 2-3 fresh school leavers to start doing basic coding chores without bursting their payroll budget.
You referred to Dev Bootcamp and Hack Reactor, I will have you know that most of the people who attend those programs in the US, did not have a computer science or computer engineering background but are people from other backgrounds who are looking to change careers and get a job in the software industry.
Congratulations on making this happen, It is a pity that Google could not be involved on that occasion and I cannot make any promises regarding the future .
We try to support as much as we can in a scalable manner through programs like The Google Developer Groups, Launchpad and other Computer Science focused initiatives , It is easier to engage with Google with your programs if you do so through these programs instead of on a one-off basis.
If you have the vision to CONSISTENTLY contribute a sizable quota to the number of skilled coders in Nigeria or Africa, I would advise that you borrow a leaf from what the likes of Andela and Moringa have done and build a sustainable business model around what you are doing take on the challenge of disrupting the conventional education system.
I hope I have been able to answer your question with this attempt?
Though I think I may one day have to do a full blog post on this topic as there are many other aspects that I would like to touch on to help make this clearer.