Sometimes we get the impression that Nigeria’s tech industry is only just emerging from its infancy. That’s because when we speak about tech, we usually mean contemporary technology— the sort that’s applied in payments, edtech, agritech, and other emerging technology-driven fields.
But technology has a long history in Nigeria. It’s come a long way, from the age of crackling, radio-based communication to the edge of the Internet of Things. This journey spans multiple epochs, each dominated by a select group of companies.
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Our survey of Nigeria’s oldest technology companies will take this route. It doesn’t necessarily present a ranking of corporations by chronological age but notes businesses that emerged from various points of the evolution of tech in the country.
Today, the NCR is known as an IT hardware and software supplier and installer; they also provide ATMs to banks across the county.
But it was a much different company when it began operating in Nigeria in 1949. At the time it was known as the National Cash Register Company (West Africa) and was a producer of mechanical cash registers.
In 1979, it became the first multinational ICT company to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. And in 1989, it installed Nigeria’s first ATM.
The firm changed its name to NCR Nigeria Plc in 1996.
Like NCR, IBM originates from outside of the country’s shores. The IT giant first set office in Nigeria in 1962, with a West African headquarters located in Lagos.
IBM was pivotal in the introduction of computers in Nigeria. It established the University of Ibadan computing centre, the first of its kind in the country, in 1963. At about the same time, computing services were used in a national census.
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IBM is now a leading provider of cloud services in Nigeria, and across the world.
Tripple Gee and Company
Tripple Gee started in 1980 as a three-man stationery printing outfit, operating out of a garage in Lagos. Today, it‘s a security printing firm and makes RFID smart labels. It’s also involved in print data security.
Inlaks was founded in 1982. It offers a range of IT infrastructure solutions to businesses in multiple industries: telecommunications, banking, oil and gas, and utilities. Its services include fraud management, cloud and data centre, enterprise risk management, and cybersecurity.
Besides its operations in Nigeria, it also caters to clients in Ghana and Kenya.
Incorporated in 1985 as a computer maintenance outfit, Chams has grown to become a leader in identity management technology provision in Nigeria. It’s been involved in the roll-out of the BVN, helped with the front end of the NIMC’s national identity card project, and has helped government bodies and banks set up ID security and verification systems.
The company also provides ATMs, POS terminals, and mobile payment solutions.
Chams introduced Nigeria’s first e-payment card (Valucard) in collaboration with Visa.
Featured Image Source: Business Day NG
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