The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the frailties of Africa today. It has shown just how weak many fabrics of our society are. Indeed, Nigeria and many Africa countries would need to brace up for a highly uncertain and competitive future that will be rapidly fueled by technology and all the disruptions that will most likely come with it.
As someone who has been clamouring for the need to be more serious with technology and the digital economy, I honestly feel like we are not serious about the next generation. I am actually not referring to the government alone, this is also in respect to private organisations who are free to make decisions as they want, since they are more answerable to their shareholders and investors. However, to move forward in a post-covid world, we must begin to think of impact! Yes, make all the money in the world and become the most successful company in the history of Africa but also impact your immediate environment.
The big question on my mind is, how can we get top executives and their organisations to begin to imagine a new Nigeria, where they would also impact their immediate environment more through various genuine and impact-driven corporate social responsibilities?
Start-ups, in their numbers, have emerged and continue to emerge in their hundreds. Many have survived, independently, irrespective of poor institutions and infrastructure that have plagued the country but alas, many more that ordinarily would have survived, if the environment was more friendly, have died.
In 2019, Nigeria and Kenya, ranked highest, as joint destination for start-up investment, with a total of 81.5 per cent in investment. Nigerian hubs, through their available workspace, have incubated a significant number of start-ups in the country, while leveraging technology to build indigenous services and solutions. Many of these start-ups have provided solutions, especially in the finance industry, (fintechs), agriculture, logistics and transportation as well as health. These solutions, I daresay are, purely, localised-based content, meaning that Nigeria has got the set skill and mentality to seek advancement in technology and apply same to solving the immediate needs within the country.
Often times, I imagine what would have become of the ecosystem, if institutional funding is made available for the ecosystem. Can we ever get to the point of seeing more institutional funds being put out by corporate entities to support the further growth of the ecosystem?
I read a report of students from Queens College that developed a waste bin that does not require the user to touch the bin’s lid. This is an example of an innovation, solving an immediate and daily challenge. Would any organisation rise up to support these sort of talents?
The reality is that we have to make it part of our DNA to discover and support young talents in diverse fields such as science, technology, engineering, arts and social sciences. We simply need to build a culture and a system that — Finish Reading on the Punch