Yabacon Valley

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Yabacon Valley is a nickname for the area of Yaba, -the mainland part of Lagos, Nigeria. This area is already growing as Nigeria’s technology hub and cluster of hundreds of banking institutions, educational institutions, technology and startup companies which steadily attracts angel investors, venture capitalists, enthusiasts and media people from all over the world. This cluster is the major reason many technology firms are considering opening up shop in Yaba.[1] Close to the region is the Lagos lagoon which lies on its south-western side, it empties into the Atlantic via Lagos Harbour, a main channel through the heart of the city, 0.5 km to 1 km wide and 10 km long. The term originally was born from an unintentional act of an absent mind, manipulating the Silicon valley name to create a nick version for this cluster while writing a story title.[2] More so, due to the lagoon near this region, the term Silicon lagoon has also been used to refer to this cluster although this is yet to stick and its origin or creator is unknown.

Regardless of the tech clusters in Africa, Yabacon Valley or Silicon lagoon whichever name you chose to call it continues to be a leading hub for high-tech innovation and development, buoyed by the country’s budding, technology-savvy middle-class and massive online population of 45 million internet users. Nigeria’s fledging technology start-up scene is witnessing a flurry of activities in the frame of new investment drive, acquisitions, strategic partnerships as well as plans to establish more incubation centers.[3]

Geographically, Yabacon Valley encompasses all Yaba Local council development area which was carved out of the old Lagos Mainland local government created in 1977 as a separate Local government following the national reform of Local government in September 1976. The Lagos Mainland carved out of Lagos city council which administered the Lagos Metropolitan city consists of Lagos Island and Lagos Mainland. So with the creation of three more Local government on 27 August 1991, the former lagos mainland was re-constituted with Surulere carved out of it. The present Yaba local council area has the look of an urban setting; some areas however mirror rural features and these areas are simply referred to as blighted areas like Makoko and Iwaya. Nonetheless, Yabacon Valley is a development, a commercial nerve centre for all regardless of their political and cultural affiliations.

Origin of term[edit]

It is not known if the term Yabacon Valley has been mentioned or used in reference of this tech cluster in the past, but its first published use is credited to The Business Aim, an online publishing platform with focus on business, strategy, innovation, startup culture and everything new. According to Google, the phrase was first used by Blaise Aboh an award winning writer and startup enthusiast as part of a title for an article to bring to light the arrival of many startup accelerators, reasons why, and also to mention the emergence of a new player named Passion Incubator in the technology ecosystem. The article is dated March 13, 2014.[2] The term is still not widely known however it is been used in conversations among the geeks, players and enthusiasts in the tech ecosystem especially on technology focused blogs and social media. There's still controversy surrounding the name, arguments and comments made on article a popular Nigerian technology blog Techcabal confirms this as few are disgruntled and think a better nickname can be created. They feel the name ought to be something else without the ‘con’ and the ‘valley’ arguing why Nigeria must mimic the west in almost everything. But there are many who actually like the name. Weekly in conversations, this name pops up and there are those who are of the opinion that if the name is disliked so much, it should not be brought up regularly.[4]

Yabacon is a portmanteau of ‘Yaba’ the Lagos suburb and ‘Silicon’ a chemical element used to create most semiconductors commercially for electronic computers. Although there are technology companies in this area, there are no companies involved in the making of semiconductors since the cluster is still at its green stage and Nigeria is yet to advance to the technology level of manufacturing electronics. Thus, the name is just a sheer imitation of America's Silicon valley.

Demographics[edit]

The population of Yabacon Valley is between 200 and 300 thousand approximately. It is assumed that females outnumber males in the majority of the localities in Yabacon Valley due to concentration of tertiary institutions in the area.

Boundaries[edit]

North of this area is Shiro Street down to other side of Morocco road towards the roundabout. This also includes Abule- Ijesha South - Muritala Muhammed way from Jibowu to Wright street junction. To the East is the Lagos lagoon, Onike, Onitiri, Makoko, Iwaya, University of Lagos communities also overlooking lagoon. To the West; a descent of 3rd mainland bridge to Wright Street to Murtala Muhammed way to include Total services station at that junction.

History[edit]

Yaba is a part of Lagos Nigeria with many small towns and communities such as Onyigbo, Ebute metta, Makoko, Sabo, Akoka, Abule Ijesha, Onike, Jibowu, and Iwaya among others.

Yaba Local council development area as it is today has its secretariat at 198, Herbert Macaulay Street, carved out of the old Lagos Mainland local government which was created in 1977 as a separate Local government following the national reform of Local government in September 1976. Lagos Mainland carved out of Lagos city council which administered the Lagos Metropolitan city; this consists of Lagos Island and Lagos Mainland. So with the creation of three more Local government on 27 August 1991, the former lagos mainland was re-constituted with Surulere carved out of it. Yaba Local council Development area as one of the Thirty Seven (37) newly created Local council Development areas was created out of Lagos Mainland by the administration of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu after the state assembly passed a law creating new local council Development areas. The present Yaba local council area wears an urban setting; some part however mirrored rural features and these areas are simply referred to as blighted areas like Makoko and Iwaya. Nonetheless, Yaba Local council development area is the commercial nerve centre for all regardless of their political and cultural affiliations.

"Perhaps the strongest push responsible for this industrial powerhouse and cluster is the increase in demand of products leveraging technology for growth".

Presence of leading institutions of higher learning[edit]

Yabacon valley has two of Nigeria’s leading educational institutions in Yaba College of Technology (Yabatech) and University of Lagos. Both higher institutions are known to be of higher learning standards and have some of the country’s best brains as lecturers. There of course are the less seasoned institutions which are prestigious in their own right – the federal technical college Akoka (a teacher training institute) and Queens’ college one of Africa’s best post primary educational institutions. Historical significance, landmarks and memorials. Yaba also has notable landmarks like the statue of Herbert Macaulay the father of nationalism in Nigeria. Many other landmarks such as Tejuosho Market, E-center, National library of Nigeria, Yabatech among other notable landmarks there are also historically significant landmarks, such as the tallest building on the mainland Corner stone house, the first filling station in Nigeria - (Total at Sabo) and many more.

An expanding middle class[edit]

Yaba has one of the fastest expanding middle class groups in Nigeria as a whole. This is why developers fall over themselves to renovate old buildings or expand them out rightly to create apartments for working class folks. Real estate boom is in no small way an issue to consider when middle-class families demand for accommodation.

Reduced crime rate[edit]

Crime rate in most parts of yaba is low. Perhaps the heavy presence of security details around the place deters criminals or could be that the ever busy nature of the place seems to inconvenience criminals. Also there is the possibility that many so called criminals may consider productive work readily available for idle hands to be more rewarding whatever the case crime rate is relatively low.

Nearness to the island[edit]

Lagos island is the nerve center of commerce and the service based industry in Nigeria as a whole. Living in Yaba keeps you close to the Victoria island, Ikoyi and Lekki and thereby reduces your transportation expenses, stress due to heavy traffic jams which has found common place in these aforementioned areas.

Rapid economic expansion[edit]

The local economy in this part of Lagos is rapidly expanding. Eateries, banks, hotels, retail stores, insurance companies, night clubs are booming implying a lot of opportunities both for investors and employment seekers. The expansion of this are is rapid and many companies are setting up so as to not miss out of its financial benefits.

The birth of a startup cluster[edit]

In 2011, Wennovation Hub in partnership with African Leadership Forum started incubating startups in the tech ecosystem but not much noise was made till 2012 when 'Bosun Tijani a social innovator & entrepreneur and a group of individuals set out to help animate a community of change agents who believe in building a strong base for Nigeria through technology. They were certain they could help accelerate a movement of people who are driven by the need to disrupt the status quo in Nigeria through smart application of technology. Although a colossal task, it someday gave birth to where is now called CcHUB, albeit, Nigeria’s first startup incubator which eventually started the ball rolling for the Nigeria-Lagos technology scene.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ben, Uzo Jr. "Yaba to become Africa's Silicon Valley". BusinessDay. 
  2. ^ a b [1] from thebusinessaim.com.ng
  3. ^ Ben, Uzo Jr. "Venture capitalists Propel Nigeria’s tech start-ups". BusinessDay. 
  4. ^ [2] from techcabal.com

External links[edit]