By the turn of the century, a third of people will be African. Africa’s population will grow from 1.2 billion today to 4.5 billion in the next 80 years. By then, Nigeria’s population alone will surpass that of China. Coupled with the growing population is the ever-increasing investment in tech.
In 2020, the ecosystem raised over $1.4 billion dollars in capital. The figure jumped to $6.5 billion in 2021, doubling every year. However Africa suffers from huge infrastructure challenges. Thus we see the critical need for young people in Africa to contribute to the global economy by working on the internet.
Itana's (formerly Talent City) story began with Iyinoluwa Aboyeji. Between 2014-2016, he co-founded Andela (now a unicorn), he and the team had to move offices multiple times in a short period, due to the restrictions in infrastructure and the rate of scale. Every time, they spent a fortune renovating and retrofitting the offices and living quarters.
He then moved to start Flutterwave (now also a unicorn), where the problems were different. The regulations and policies governing tech companies challenging which made it difficult to run a business and raise FDI investment.
Building from Nigeria is hard. Technology startups require constant power, high-speed internet and a stable policy environment. Unfortunately, these resources are considered a luxury in the country.
There is the notion of Japa in Nigeria: it means to run swiftly, to retreat, to remove from a situation. In this case, to run from Nigeria to a more stable environment, with better access to infrastructure and community.
This was when the crazy idea was born – What if we build a startup city of our own? A place where we can live, work, collaborate with the right digital governance and be inspired by a like-minded community, where Nigerians no longer need to leave Nigeria for a better life.
Iyin met with his good friend Luqman Edu to convince him to take on the challenge - How do we build the ideal environment for tech in Africa? Luqman & Iyin, having worked together in the past to solve big problems, and Luqman experience in using tech to provide solutions for cities and critical functions of state governments. This was the beginning of a team up for the task:
Taking learnings from around the world, we look to replicate the success stories of Estonia, Shenzhen, and Dubai, and become the ‘global jurisdiction of choice’ on the African continent for the Internet citizens of the world.
Itana rests on the ambition of building the ideal environment for the tech ecosystem in Africa, where the best talents build together. We envision a connected community with the ideal governance, digital services and physical infrastructure for builders of the continent to thrive.