Postcard from Lagos: Take the brake off start-ups

Sudden moves by the government are stifling the entrepreneurial energy of young Nigerians, writes Emmanuel Adegboye

The World Today
Published 1 August 2021 Updated 30 July 2021 2 minute READ

Emmanuel Adegboye

Academy Associate, Africa Programme

What a strange time to be a young innovator in Nigeria. One day, you can be celebrating a billion-dollar valuation as a start-up, the next worrying whether a new government policy decision will wipe these gains out overnight.

In the past year, Nigerians have woken up to bans on motorcycle taxis in Lagos, cryptocurrency transactions involving banks and, most recently, Twitter.

Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s information minister, told the House of Representatives that young people should find another platform, given how Twitter was a threat to Nigeria’s corporate existence.

A statement from the Lagos state government on the motorcycle ban said: ‘Our youths no longer learn the trades we used to be proud of – tailoring, bricklaying, printing, painting and others.’

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