When you talk of ICT in Nigeria, the first place that comes in mind is Lagos. However, with the speed at which technology is moving there is no village in Nigeria that doesn’t host a mobile phone. In the north, Kano is regarded as the business hub considering its history and reputation but little is known about its advancement in the technological world. In the present day Kano two places play a vital role in ICT industry. Farm Centre which harbors two Computer and GSM markets and also Beirut Road which is the dwelling place for mobile phone tycoons. The question now is, where is the I.T Hub in the state and why?
Farm Centre as a GSM and Computer Village have a lot of impact on the people of Kano State. A lot of people are employed and able to put food in their mouths and on the table of their families through this market. Considering the fact that is has a lot of mobile phone engineers, phone sellers, phone accessories sellers, computer engineers, computers and computer accessories sellers it has provided ample opportunity for other businesses like food sellers, shoe sellers, cloth sellers, and even the guys who wash cars at the car park. The rate at which the market is growing has prompted the construction of three other markets in the same area. This is to show that something good must be going on.
When you drive into Beirut Road on a normal business day, beautifully painted buildings are the first to welcome. Shops and offices here have class and it’s often the preferred place for the able and capable. The businesses on Beirut road are typically mobile phones sales be it wholesale or retail. A couple of phone engineers and computer technicians can be found not far away. Shops and Offices are nicely decorated and air conditioned. People here are more schooled and posses greater customer care skills.
Both locations have some qualities the other lacks. A lot of youths have found solace at Farm Centre; this makes it prone to petty thieves and criminals. But it is the only place you can get complete solution on any issue you have concerning your gadgets. Electronics and Accessories are affordable, accounting for the influx of people. You hardly move around the market without bumping into someone. Beirut Road on the other hand is the opposite of farm centre. There are more merchants and foreign companies base in the area. If you have any product that is lacking in accessories or has an issue that couldn’t be resolve, you are likely to get the direct company agent or office at Beirut Road. High grade products and services is the trademark of this place.
Complete ICT services like web design, Networking, Software Development and design etc. has no known hub in Kano. Companies and Individuals, who offer these services are scattered around the city. This factor makes it difficult to pin point a particular place. Naturally these two locations are hosts to a lot of IT personnel. Other areas in the city like Barter, Sabon Gari, and Civic Centre are also popular in the sector, but there are more or less into other businesses than IT. There is a company at Farm Centre that offers services like Web design, Graphics design, Digital marketing and Software solutions. It has launched an online news platform (www.kanoreports.com) which is of immense importance to the State. Another company at Civic Centre is known to sell high specs computers recently launched an e-commerce platform. The first of its kind in the region. But the question is still yet to be answered, where is the next Silicon Valley in Kano?