60 years ago we became independent. 60 years ago we took charge of our destiny. 60 years ago, we became NIGERIA. 1 October 1960, is when our journey began.
Between the 60s and 80s, the Nigerian economy boomed, and yes, logistics played a significant role in this boom. The largest contributor to the growth of the Nigerian economy was the Oil industry, which caused rapid economic growth in Transportation, Construction, Manufacturing and Government services. This led to a large influx of people from rural to urban areas, thereby stagnating the growth of the Agricultural Industry in the export market – this also meant a boom for the Import Market, because no agriculture means no food.
With a need to move goods and supplies to and from cities, communities and markets, the motor transport system with lorries and buses was established, with a sizable investment in road network systems. Slowly but steadily, the railway system was overtaken by motor transport and today, the latter has become the go-to transport mode for the movement of cargo in Nigeria.
Importation of basic food meant that costs went up. Infrastructure also started failing. Road systems began to deteriorate due to lack of adequate maintenance resulting in longer travel times and dangerous road accidents. In fact, this was the beginning of the death of the Nigerian railway industry, causing logistics to become more cumbersome than ever before.
Fast forward to the 1990s and 2000s – the introduction of telecoms and eventually, the internet. We were now able to do the things we couldn’t even imagine in the 60s, using these “new age” tools to solve the world’s problems. Customers became more demanding in this era, and so, last-mile delivery was introduced; the birth of e-commerce.
More specifically, in 2016, Nigeria entered a recession and agriculture failed. Moving goods from point A to B was extremely tough. Businesses struggled to stay afloat due to rising logistics costs. Then, two young ambitious men in their 20s, my co-founder Ife Oyedele II and I, decided to move back to Nigeria from studying in the US to disrupt the market. We thought, how can we develop the logistics sector in Nigeria? How can we make trading in Africa better? This was the birth of Kobo360. Today, Kobo360 has 6 offices and serves 16 countries across Africa and the emerging markets.
Kobo360 is a mirror of what Nigeria can be. In Nigeria, you can build, you can innovate, you can be anything you want to be, as long as you keep executing and delivering excellence. If you want to build an African product that has global potential, Nigeria is the ideal testbed. Nigeria has the complexities that make innovations exportable to other markets.
Nigeria’s GDP depends on logistics to move goods from key industries such as Agriculture, Mining, Oil and Gas, in order for us to be able to create a better future and opportunities for the over 200 million people residing in Nigeria. As a partner, Kobo360 is committed to helping Nigeria grow, to keep the country moving by keeping these goods moving.
As Nigeria turns 60 today, our commitment still remains the same, to use big data and technology to reduce logistics frictions while empowering transporters to earn more, and helping manufacturers of all sizes to find new markets, thereby creating exponential economic growth in Nigeria now, in the future and beyond. There is no excuse in 2020 for logistics to lag behind.
Some will surely ask “what are we celebrating?”, I say we are celebrating 60 years of resilience, 60 years of passion and hard work, 60 years of a great Nigeria. Our destinies are intertwined and we will keep fighting for the future of our country – not just for us, but for generations to come.
We are one people with many destinations. So, from all of us at Kobo360, we say Happy 60th Independence Day Nigeria.