Power shortages are a major problem for Nigeria. The tech industry is booming, and it actually accounts for over 14% of the country’s GDP. Chris Oyeniyi has his own tech start-up in the middle of Lagos. It’s an app called KariGO- which is basically an Uber, but it caters to trucks. Businesses or even factories that are in need can easily hire big trucks to help them to move their items all around the country. He started his company in 2016 and they now have a total of 11 staff members. He also owns over 12 trucks too.
Uber operate all throughout the day and the night. The problem with Oyeniyi’s app is that he can only operate during the standard business hours that most businesses work. Sure, he would love to keep it up and running around the clock, and from a business standpoint this is completely viable, but he is facing a huge obstacle, electricity. Oyeniyi has come out to say that he pays out over $800 in electricity every single month even though he only has a very small office. The electrical grid is cheap, but it does cut out multiple times every single day. He’s forced to rely on a generator which is far more expensive to run. The tech industry in Nigeria is booming, take the casino sector for example, they are thriving but the one reason why this isn’t limited is because it can essentially be run from anywhere in the world. Oyeniyi’s app on the other hand, cannot.
Oyeniyi has come out to say that if the power grid from the government did run all of the time, his bill would only be $100. Power shortages are very common, especially when you look at middle or even low-income countries. A United Nations report has come out to say that over 840 million people have to live without any reliable access to electricity. A lot of them are located in Africa and they live in rural areas. They are beyond the reach of the grid.
The issue is that there are also power outages and even strikes in cities as well. This can take a real toll on the economy and it even cuts out the productivity of businesses too. It forces people like Oyeniyi to have to put even more capital into their backup generators and it also stops them from investing in more staff or even additional equipment. The grid in Lagos right now is so unreliable that a lot of homes and businesses have to have a generator, and this fills the area with a lot of noise and pollution.
Power shortages are a real problem for tech industries. The survey found that companies who have 10 employees or fewer find electricity issues to be of a major problem and that it is an obstacle that stops them from being able to conduct their business to the fullest, therefore hindering the economy.