To mark the 30th anniversary of the invention of the worldwide web, Africa-focussed venture capital firm TLcom hosted Internet founder and pioneer, Sir Tim Berners-Lee at Westwood Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos on Tuesday 13 March. The VC firm welcomed Sir Tim to an intimate tech industry reception, with key figures from Africa’s tech community in attendance, including Elo Umeh, CEO of Terragon and Etop Ikpe, CEO of Cars45.
Hosted in partnership with the Web Foundation, TLcom Senior Partner and Web Foundation Board Member, Dr. Omobola Johnson, discussed the gender digital divide and strategies to close it as well as how the internet and the web are driving social and economic inclusion in Nigeria, with Sir Tim, who is currently working with governments, companies and citizens to build a new Contract for the Web. This comes after Sir Tim this week announced his wish to build a better web that serves all of humanity, which he set out in an Open Letter to mark the Internet’s 30th birthday.
Nigeria is one of the world’s most mobilised countries and recent stats from the NCC reveal that the country’s mobile internet user base has now grown to 113.9mn subscribers. These figures continue to lay the foundations for Nigeria’s tech industries such as mobile money, which the GSMA estimates will provide over 110mn accounts by 2024. As one of the leading VCs for African markets with leading companies such as Andela, Kobo360, Terragon, Twiga Foods, and mSurvey in its TIDE Africa fund investment portfolio, TLcom continues to focus on how entrepreneurship, the internet and web-based technology can make an impact and grow on the continent.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Omobola Johnson stated: “As much as Sir Tim’s attendance is a reflection on the opportunities the internet has provided, it is also about the potential it holds for Africa moving forward. Sir Tim’s and the Web Foundation’s ethos of bringing interconnected communities together to shape our internet’s future, and ensure the web is fit for purpose for a global community, is one that resonates completely with us at TLcom. We are delighted to be hosting him here in Lagos, and hope he will be inspired by our collaborators in the tech ecosystem.”
Touching on the potential within Nigeria, Sir Tim Berners-Lee also added: “With its vibrant tech community and several millions yet to be connected to the internet, Nigeria represents both the present and the future of the internet and the web.”