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TECH: Do You Know (Computer Village)

Forget what some stats say. Trade is a sector that employs and by extension feeds the most Nigerians directly and indirectly. Most of it is unregulated and highly competitive in nature as there is really no barriers to entry as long as one has start-up capital. Trade has shaped the informal economy across different sectors including tech. The predominance of trade in the informal economy has seen the dominance of big markets as big players in the Nigerian economy. It is thus no surprise that some of the biggest markets in West Africa are in Nigeria. One of them is small piece of congested real estate that is today known popularly as Computer Village located in Lagos, which has been the go to market for computer hardware and tech solutions in West Africa. 

Everybody knows about Computer Village but did you know that before it, there was the tech hub that was Ogunlana Drive in Surulere. Computer Village and its environs became a market from the 90’s when many businesses moved into Otigba Street. Surulere is one of Lagos most popular districts even now but it was much to look at in the 40’s and 50’s. In the 50’s, the colonial government set about expanding the road network in the city center which resulted in the arterial routes of Outer and Inner Marina and Broad Street as we know it today. A lot of the first settlers in Surulere were those who were relocated from Lagos Island in the area now called New Lagos. Every other suburb in the area grew as a result of the low cost housing scheme.

Interestingly, Computer Village developed the same way many marketplaces did in Lagos. A few block of shops that sold out to a group of traders who dealt in the same good sees weary landlords who need money or are just not comfortable living close to a bustling hub of shops then saw the opportunity to turn their old homes into shops, rent them out and move somewhere else. The pattern replicates itself in every big market in Lagos particular for a number of reason which fall outside the scope of this read however.

Comment like and let me know what you think about this interesting fact.