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The Booming Mobile App Industry in Nigeria: Stats, Trends and Opportunities

The mobile app industry in Nigeria has seen tremendous growth over the last decade. With increasing smartphone and internet penetration, apps have become an integral part of daily life for many Nigerians. The potential for innovation and revenue in the Nigerian app economy makes it an attractive prospect for developers, entrepreneurs and investors alike.

This in-depth article explores the size of Nigeria’s app industry, key trends shaping its growth, strategies for monetization, case studies of successful homegrown apps, an overview of the developer ecosystem, opportunities for women developers, and an outlook on the future of Nigerian mobile apps.

Size of Nigeria’s App Industry

Nigeria is home to Africa’s largest app economy. According to research by Techpoint Africa, there are approximately 200,000 active developers and over 5,000 active startups in the Nigerian tech space. While South Africa may lead in total revenue, Nigeria tops the charts for number of developers and boasts some of the continent’s most innovative new apps.

The Nigerian app market is currently valued at over $50 million and projected to reach $160 million by 2025 according to Statista. There are an estimated 5 million apps downloaded every month in Nigeria. Gaming apps account for 36% of downloads followed by entertainment (31%), utility (26%) and social networking (7%) apps.

Key Growth Trends

Several factors are fuelling rapid growth in the Nigerian app industry:

Increasing Smartphone Penetration

Nigeria has over 200 million mobile subscribers, with over 45 million smartphone users as of 2021 according to Jumia Mobile Report. Affordable Android phones from brands like Tecno, Infinix and Fero have put smartphones in the hands of many first-time internet users. Expanding smartphone penetration provides a growing addressable market for mobile apps.

Proliferation of Tech Hubs

The number of technology and innovation hubs has exploded across Nigeria’s major cities like Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt. These hubs like Co-Creation Hub and Wennovation Hub provide training, incubation and financing for aspiring developers and startups, catalyzing app innovation.

Improved Internet Connectivity

Internet penetration in Nigeria has risen from 11% in 2010 to over 45% in 2020 as per Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) data. The rapid expansion of 3G and 4G networks across the country opens up possibilities for more advanced apps.

Government Support

The Nigerian government has prioritized the tech and startup space. Initiatives like the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) offer funding for ICT innovation. Government digitalization campaigns are also driving demand for productivity, lifestyle and other apps.

Investment Interest

Nigerian startups attracted over $500 million in funding in 2021, with major investments going to fintech apps like Flutterwave and OPay. According to StartupBlink, Lagos is the top startup ecosystem in Africa and Nigeria ranks second after South Africa. Active engagement from investors and accelerators is enabling the rapid scaling of promising apps.

Monetization Strategies

Developers have several effective options to monetize apps and earn revenues in the Nigerian market:


In-app advertising remains one of the most common monetization models. Display, video and native ads can be incorporated within free apps. Advertising through rich media and interactive ads tend to have higher engagement.

Premium Versions

Freemium models involve offering a free app with limited features plus a premium paid version with more functionality. Premium versions provide additional revenue streams from upgraded subscriptions.

In-App Purchases

This allows users to unlock additional app content like virtual goods or accessories through one-time or recurring purchases. Games like pricing bundles and offering discounts encourage in-app spending.


Here apps partner with relevant brands who pay to be featured prominently within the app experience. Sponsorships are a natural fit for news, sports and entertainment apps.

Enterprise App Development

Developers can build custom mobile apps and solutions for business clients. Companies pay for app development costs plus ongoing maintenance fees.

App Referral Fees

Apps can earn commissions by directing users to third-party products or services. This includes integrations with e-commerce platforms or marketing affiliate programs.

Case Studies: Successful Nigerian Apps

Nigerian developers have built several hugely popular homegrown apps across categories:

Jobberman (Career)

Jobberman is Nigeria’s largest job search and career development platform. Launched in 2009, it helps over 100,000 employers and 10 million job seekers with recruitment solutions. Its parent company Ringier One Africa Media is Africa’s leading classifieds group.

Healthlane (Health)

Healthlane connects patients with healthcare professionals for virtual consultations and home services. Backed by, it has 20,000 doctors across Nigeria on its platform. The startup raised a $3 million Series A round in 2019.

Sabi (E-Commerce)

Sabi is an innovative B2B e-commerce marketplace focused on consumer goods distribution. Founded in 2018, it raised a $6 million Series A round led by MEST Africa in 2021 and has over 40 global brands as suppliers.

PiggyVest (Fintech)

PiggyVest is a popular online savings and investment app which helps users manage budgets and automate their finances. Launched in 2016 by uLesson, it boasts over 1 million registered users and counting.

ThankUCash (Loyalty)

ThankUCash from SuperPay provides a digital loyalty and rewards platform for banks and large merchants. It enables points accrual and redemption for over 300,000 users. The app received funding from Flutterwave in 2018.

Eden (Food & Grocery Delivery)

Eden offers online grocery shopping and express delivery services through a network of micro fulfillment centres. Founded in 2020, the Y Combinator-backed startup has expanded to multiple cities in Lagos after seed funding.

These Nigerian startups show how developers can identify underserved needs and scale apps to thousands of users across key verticals.

Overview of the Developer Ecosystem

Nigeria boasts a growing base of skilled and entrepreneurial developers creating mobile apps. An enabling environment provides critical support for app economy participants.


According to 2021 State of the Industry survey by the Nigeria Developer Student Clubs, over 75% of developers are self-taught and 44% are under 25 years old. Top coding languages used are Python, JavaScript, Java, and Dart.

Conferences & Events

Annual events like Google Developer Festival, Startup South, Pulse Nigeria, and Techpoint Build offer learning, networking and funding opportunities. Hackathons organized by companies also promote collaboration.

Accelerators & Incubators

Programs like Lagos Ignite, Tony Elumelu Foundation and StartPreneurs provide mentorship and capital for early-stage startups. Co-working spaces like Venia Group offer community and infrastructure.

Venture Capital

Active tech investors like Future Africa, Microtraction, Partech and Novastar Ventures are deploying more capital into Nigerian startups. Their growth stage funding enables app companies to scale. Government initiatives like the Nigeria Startup Bill also aim to boost investment.

Remote Work

The shift towards remote work and freelancing during the pandemic has expanded the talent pool for Nigeria’s developer community. Collaboration tools enable more developers to work flexibly for companies based across the world.

Encouraging Women in App Development

While startups are male-dominated, dedicated programs provide support and growth opportunities for women developers and tech entrepreneurs in Nigeria:

  • SheCodes Africa runs classes, workshops and mentoring for women and girls to gain coding skills across Nigeria.
  • Tech4Dev promotes inclusion through training women in mobile web technology and connecting them to jobs.
  • Wimbart organizes hackathons and bootcamps focused on bringing more women into blockchain development.
  • AWIEF (African Women Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum) provides business acceleration, networking and funding opportunities for female founders across Africa.
  • WISE Nigeria works to increase women in the STEM fields through education, mentorship programs and public campaigns.
  • The Ada Nanrele Fellowship by Forakin invests up to $10,000 in Nigerian female tech founders.

With more concerted efforts towards gender inclusion, women developers and entrepreneurs will play an even bigger role in Nigeria’s app economy in the coming decade.

Future Outlook

Nigeria’s mobile app industry is poised for massive growth as internet access and smartphone adoption continue rising.

Expanding Connectivity

Ongoing investments by leading telcos like MTN, Airtel and Glo in 4G coverage expansion plus anticipated 5G rollout will connect millions more Nigerians. Fast, reliable connectivity will reduce friction for app usage.

Emerging Technologies

Developers are leveraging AR/VR, blockchain, IoT and AI for innovative new apps spanning entertainment, education, payments and more. Integrating advanced capabilities will foster more immersive, intelligent app experiences.

Global Collaborations

Partnerships between Nigerian and international businesses and developers are leading to knowledge transfer and greater scalability. Apps can expand into new global markets.

Investment & Enterprise Adoption

Sustained investor interest in Nigeria’s potential will direct more capital into app startups. As digital transformation rises up corporate agendas, demand for enterprise apps for internal operations and customer engagement will also grow.

Government Support

Initiatives like the startup bill, digital skills programs and digital infrastructure investments by the Nigerian government aim to develop human capital and enable the digital economy. More developers can leverage public sector funding opportunities.

Opportunities for Developers & Entrepreneurs

Nigeria offers exciting openings for developers and startups across mobile app verticals:

  • Fintech – Financial services innovation for digital payments, investing, lending and blockchain applications has huge scope given Nigeria’s underbanked population.
  • Agritech – Agriculture apps that connect farmers to markets, improve supply chains or enable access to finance can transform productivity and food security.
  • Healthtech – Digital health startups addressing access, affordability and awareness for healthcare services have tremendous life-improving potential.
  • Education – Edtech apps facilitating personalized learning, tutoring, exam prep and skills development for students and professionals have a vast addressable market.
  • Entertainment – Music, video, sports and gaming apps can uniquely cater to Nigerian users’ interests and preferences with localized content.
  • E-commerce – Online retail apps that offer convenience, variety and discounted pricing for both urban and rural consumers represent an $8 billion opportunity according to PwC.
  • Logistics – Optimizing supply chains with efficient last-mile delivery and tracking has scope given Nigeria’s infrastructure constraints.

Nigerian app developers are leveraging emerging use cases and business models to build solutions serving unmet consumer and enterprise needs. The path ahead looks promising.


As smartphone penetration and internet access proliferate across Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria’s app developer community has an unprecedented opportunity to drive innovation, create jobs and grow incomes.

Local startups are already building globally competitive products in fields like fintech, entertainment and e-commerce. With women developers entering the fray, strategic investment, government support and new technologies, Nigeria’s mobile apps have the potential to transform more lives and add billions in economic value.

The message for aspiring developers and entrepreneurs is clear – there has never been a better time to build mobile apps “Made in Nigeria!”


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