In the latest edition of Marketplace Africa, 21st Century Technologies CEO, Wale Ajisebutu, talks about how building digital infrastructure in Nigeria is top of mind for his company and how partnering with tech giants can grow the region’s wider economy.
“Data is generated and consumed and is increasing in an exponential rate. We want to play a key role in the fourth industrial revolution in this part of the world.”
Ajisebutu ventured into telecoms after a chance encounter, “I decided to go into telecoms by chance. I had a discussion with one of the richest men and he said, it will be good if I can adopt technology to solve problems in Nigeria. That was 25 years ago.”
21st Century is an infrastructure company providing services to the top 1000 companies in Nigeria, with the objective to solve critical industry problems for industries and create motivated talent and skilled workforce.
“Poverty in this part of the world is now defined by access to technology, technology instead of geography. What we want to do is to make technology available to everyone in this part of the world. That’s part of the training. If you train them, they have access to technology, you can lift them out of poverty.”
Ajisebutu describes what it takes to have a successful Nigerian business, “There’s no challenge anywhere especially in Nigeria where you can do anything to make a difference. The opportunity is there for you. If there is no power, you generate your own power. If there is no water, you invest in whatever facilities you need to get water. If you do the right thing in Nigeria, the sky will be the limit.”
Having invested heavily in all facets of technology, from 5G deployment to supporting GSM operators in Nigeria, the company is modernising and making sure that the platform is able to meet all customer requirements. 21st Century Technologies’ has just opened an academy with one vision – to train ten million Africans in the next ten years. The surrounding ecosystem includes funding and partner universities such as Schneider University and Oracle university.
“Data is generated and consumed and is increasing at an exponential rate. We want to play a key role in the fourth industrial revolution in this part of the world,” says Ajisebutu. In the upcoming months, the company will continue to build infrastructure. “One of the things that we are planning to do is to launch our own satellite so that we can reach as many people as possible in Africa and ensure that they have access to technology,” he says.
He concludes by saying, “I’ll be very happy in hundred years’ time if 21st Century Technologies continues to solve problems for the industries, whatever problem comes, because that’s the reason why we were created – to provide services and to continue to solve problems. We’re evolving to solve bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger problems in future.”