Paving The Way For Africa’s First Digital Free Zone


In a groundbreaking development, Itana, the brainchild of ex-Andela and Flutterwave co-founder Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, is set to establish Africa’s first digital free zone. With the backing of venture capital firms LocalGlobe and Pronomos Capital, Itana aims to revolutionize the ease of doing business in Nigeria and drive foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country.

Key Takeaway

Itana, backed by LocalGlobe and Pronomos Capital, is set to create Africa’s first digital free zone, aiming to improve Nigeria’s ease-of-doing-business index and attract FDI in the digital and service industry.

The Birth of Itana

Originally known as Talent City, Itana began as a moonshot project designed to address the challenges faced by startups and service businesses looking to scale their operations in Africa. Backed by the Charter Cities Institute and Pronomos Capital, the venture secured over $10 million for the physical Talent City project within Alaro City, situated in the Lekki Free Zone in Nigeria. However, while awaiting the completion of the physical city, Itana has shifted its focus to establish a virtual city within existing Nigerian free zones for digital and service industry businesses.

The Concept of a Digital Free Zone

Itana’s virtual city, known as Itana Edge, offers international businesses the opportunity to access the benefits of a Nigerian free zone, such as tax breaks, business visas, and supportive legislation, without the need for a physical presence. Through a unique one-stop-shop app similar to Stripe Atlas, businesses operating remotely can access essential services and incentives provided by Itana’s partnership with the Nigerian government.

Africa’s Silicon Valley

Itana aims to position itself as Africa’s Silicon Valley, capitalizing on the continent’s immense potential for software developers and foreign direct investments. With the Nigerian Startup Act and the appointment of Bosun Tijani as the Minister of Innovation and Digital Economy, the Nigerian tech community has high hopes for the development of nationwide projects, including ambitious ventures like Itana’s. The support of venture funds like Future Africa, LocalGlobe, Amplo, and Pronomos Capital further strengthens Itana’s prospects for success.

Paving the Way for a Digital Future

Despite the challenges posed by infrastructure deficits, Itana is poised to bring its digital and physical cities to fruition. With a focus on innovative revenue streams and partnerships with relevant government agencies, Itana plans to optimize its offerings and support the growth of digital service and technology businesses in Africa. The potential for Itana to transform the business landscape in Nigeria and beyond is vast, as it pioneers the concept of a digital free zone in Africa.

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