For most people when they think about the North, what comes to mind is insecurity, poverty, insurgency and all the other dismal development indices.

But guess what, a silent technology revolution is gradually taking place in the north.

Around 2014 I was privileged to attend a meet up organized by Bankole Olurutoba the then CEO of Enspire incubator an offshoot of Abuja Technology Village, his pitch was simple, he saw a dire need to establish a technology ecosystem in Abuja and that will support innovation, he wanted Enspire incubator to be at the forefront of making this happen. Over 7 years a lot has happened. The technology revolution has spread from Abuja and reached deep into the north, with different people and organizations leading this revolution.

The North is gradually rising to the occasion. This is evident in the following ways.

The Rise in the number of innovation hubs and Startups.
As at last count, there are reportedly about 12 innovation hubs in the northern region before now it was zero. This is a significant number because these platforms facilitate the propagation of startups that can create more job opportunities, drive development across the various sectors and an overall booming economy. These hubs have become the convergence for investors and entrepreneurs looking to launch their big idea.

There is an increase in awareness of the role technology can play in shaping the northern narrative.

A new army of change agents, individuals and organizations are on a mission to change this predominantly negative narrative through technology, their work is increasingly getting rewarded with widespread impact. Late last year, Daser David’s work at nHub, an innovation hub in Jos put him in the frontline of driving technopreneurship and youth empowerment in the state when he became appointed as the pioneer Director General (DG) of Plateau State Information Technology Agency (PSITA). This is not only a milestone for driving technology adoption and investment in the state, but it is also instrumental for injecting youth participation in governance and leveraging on the potentials in the tech ecosystem to boost the economy.

Ventures Platform on the other hand, since its inception in 2016 as an innovation hub in Abuja, has invested in several startups empowering the capacity of entrepreneurs and innovators through their 16-week hybrid incubation program and paid co-working space to create wealth and solutions. They also successfully partnered up to organize Startup pitch events that have immensely shaped the narrative of the region.

A remarkable characteristic of the silent digital revolution in the region is the fact that even the government is not left out in capitalizing on the increase in awareness of the role technology can play. In fact, in fulfilling the mission of diversification as a solution to activate economy growth in the first tenure, the government directed attention to tech entrepreneurship. One of such initiatives was the establishment of North-East Innovation Hub in Yola, Adamawa. The hub was positioned to facilitate the generation of solutions to the predominant humanitarian challenges in the North.

The Closing Argument for the Digital Revolution

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics show that the highest underemployment rate is found in the North. Now, add that to the infrastructure deficit and the limited access to resources communities suffer here, there is an urgent need to promote the tech sector and leverage on the potentials it provides in enabling young people in the region to be at par with their contemporaries in other regions primarily by developing digital skills.

As our societies evolve and global conversations do too, the demand for digital talent is increasing. With the disruption that the wave of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is sweeping, it is clear that artificial intelligence, big data and breakthroughs in cloud computing, nanotechnology and the internet of things etc. are shaping the future in a big way. As such, only skilled human capital and the individuals, businesses and governments alike who leverage this disruption to create sustainable solutions will remain relevant in determining economic and market trends and will reap dividends.