Joining Apple three months ago, the company’s Managing Director for Nigeria, Teju Ajani has previously held roles for Google, and as YouTube’s Head of Content Partnerships for Sub-Saharan Africa. Earlier this week she joined a panel speaking at an Africa Soft Power event on ‘Technology and the Future of Participation’, in which she talked about the new wave of tech growth taking place not only in Nigeria, but across the continent at large.
“The market – and the digital culture across Africa – is finally evolving enough to where technology offers real solutions to real problems,” said Ajani at the virtual event. “An investor looking at the continent from the outside-in might say to themselves ok I have achieved success doing what I am doing over here, and I now see that the curve in Africa is an upward one. So can I replicate this success in that market?”
“Add to this the fact that a lot more Africans now have the education and knowledge to be involved in creating solutions to local problems themselves, and you now also have the pioneering mindset to provide new and unique local solutions.”
According to Techpoint Africa, Ajani is Apple’s first top-executive appointment not only in Nigeria, but Africa at large, where the company’s only previous form of physical presence has been through reseller stores in South Africa.
Media and tech expansion onto the continent seems to be accelerating in 2021. We looked earlier this year at Netflix’s plans to ramp up its African offering, as well as the more recent move by Twitter to open up an office in Ghana. Certainly in Nigeria, the digital infrastructure needed to facilitate widespread adoption of Apple products and services would appear to be in place, with internet and mobile penetration growing.
Expansion into new markets is a growth strategy that Apple appears to have been taking more seriously in recent years. In India for example, the company is beginning to find significant traction. Speaking in a post-earnings call at the beginning of the year, CEO Tim Cook reportedly said:
“We are doing a number of things in [India] – we put the online store there for example, and last quarter was the full first quarter of the online store, and that has gotten a great reaction to it and has helped us achieve the results that we got to last quarter.”
Just yesterday, a new report from International Data Corporation (IDC) said that Apple recorded its biggest results for PC shipments in India in the first quarter of this year.
Back in Africa and looking at the development of the continent’s media tech sector more broadly, Ajani believes that solid offerings can in-turn fuel future growth.
“Africa is for a lot of people, still the one place they’re looking at and saying, I’m not quite sure what’s going on there. But whatever the case may be, as long as we are solving relevant problems with relevant solutions, adoption will come. And when adoption comes, investment will come, because naturally there is always an interest in leveraging those user opportunities.”