Shehu Tijjani Abdullahi, CEO of Amaltech
Shehu Tijjani Abdullahi, CEO of Amaltech

Interview with Shehu Tijjani Abdullahi, CEO of Amaltech: Pioneering a Semiconductor Revolution in Nigeria

NEWS DIGEST – Youthful Visionary and First-Class Middlesex University Graduate, Shehu Tijjani Abdullahi, CEO of Amaltech, is on a mission to reshape Nigeria’s economic landscape and empower its youth through a groundbreaking semiconductor revolution.

In an exclusive interview with News Digest Nigeria, Shehu Tijjani sheds light on his bold vision and impassioned drive to steer Nigeria towards semiconductor prominence, generating vital forex reserves and addressing youth restiveness along the way. With an unwavering commitment to fostering local content, Shehu Tijjani envisions a future where Nigeria not only meets its technological needs domestically but also propels itself onto the global stage of innovation.

Shehu Tijjani Abdullahi, CEO of Amaltech
Shehu Tijjani Abdullahi, CEO of Amaltech

Q: What’s your personal journey in this semiconductor venture?

Shehu Tijjani: I am Shehu Tijjani, CEO of Amaltech. My journey began as a software engineer, intrigued by how devices worked. This led me to explore hardware and understand the manufacturing process. My passion for local content development and technological advancement drives me. While the journey has just started, a collaboration of Amaltech, National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Ministry of Solid Minerals, and the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy can usher Nigeria into semiconductor prominence.

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Q: Can you tell us about your vision for semiconductor technology in Nigeria?

Shehu Tijjani: My vision is to bring the realization of semiconductor technology to Africa, particularly Nigeria. Semiconductor technology is vital for our nation’s growth and progress. If you observe global trends, leading nations like the U.S. and China heavily invest in semiconductor technology. The events of 2020 during the pandemic revealed the world’s vulnerability due to inadequate semiconductor investment. This exposed a significant gap in chip manufacturing, leading to supply shortages. Notably, there’s a fierce competition between China and the U.S., centered around companies like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), a pioneer in this field.

Q: Could you explain the relationship between semiconductors and chips?

Shehu Tijjani: Semiconductors are the foundation of electronic devices, and chips are produced from semiconductor materials. These materials, like silicon derived from silica sand, undergo processing to form wafers, on which chips are printed. The manufacturing process is similar to producing PCBs, but with higher complexity. Semiconductors are integral to daily life – they power devices like phones, electronic cars, Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality etc. Nigeria can become a global power by excelling in semiconductor technology, but our government hasn’t emphasized this potential.

Shehu Tijjani
Shehu Tijjani

Q: How can semiconductor technology help address economic challenges in Nigeria?

Shehu Tijjani: A breakthrough in semiconductor technology can significantly impact our economy. By processing raw materials locally, like silica sand, and exporting semiconductor products, we can generate substantial foreign exchange revenue. Establishing industries for wafers and chips production will create jobs and boost our economy. This self-sufficiency can even stabilize our currency. For instance, if we process silica sand and produce wafers locally, companies like Samsung, Tesla and TSMC could be interested, resulting in a surge of foreign exchange earnings.

Q: Do you believe there’s a need for a dedicated agency for semiconductor development?

Shehu Tijjani: Absolutely. Semiconductor technology underpins every sector, making it a global necessity. Developing a specific agency focused on semiconductor technology is vital. It’s not about the government running it directly, but rather supporting private companies like ours, Amaltech Technologies. Leading countries like India and China follow this model, with the government providing incentives and policies. Private companies are more agile in executing such initiatives.

Q: How can Nigeria’s youth contribute to this semiconductor journey?

Shehu Tijjani: Our youths are incredibly talented, and many Nigerians work in overseas semiconductor companies. To harness this potential, we must create awareness and emphasize semiconductor’s importance. This technology can drive job creation, local content development, and innovation. By showcasing successful examples like Amaltech, we can inspire young Nigerians to contribute to this transformative field.

Q: How do you envision the next few years for Nigeria’s semiconductor industry?

Shehu Tijjani: The next few years are critical. With the right policies, collaborations, and investments, we can transform Nigeria into a semiconductor hub. Our local industries will flourish, job opportunities will surge, and we’ll experience technological advancement that rivals global leaders.

In this enlightening discussion with Shehu Tijjani Abdullahi, it becomes evident that semiconductor technology holds the key to a new era of economic growth, technological innovation, and local content development in Nigeria. His visionary approach and resolute dedication illuminate the path towards realizing Nigeria’s potential on the global stage of semiconductor technology.