ICT Clinic (Punch Newspaper)

Creating sustainable tech solutions for Africa [ICT Clinic]

The world has systematically moved from the computer and physical stage to a more sophisticated stage, known as the “cyber-physical system”. The biggest impact of this stage is that it has improved the quality of life and given people the ability to develop technological inventions, innovations and solutions, thus, opening up an avenue for greater impact and increased revenue.

Over the years, Africa has been the dumping ground for technological junks and, sometimes, outdated technology in the form of flashy inventions. Some of these so-called inventions are popularly known as “Chinko” products in Nigeria. These products are cheap and will last only for some months, and the funniest thing is that people that created those products and those who buy them know that they don’t last for a long time.

These guys know that these ‘weak’ products are dangerous but they still create and sell them to willing buyers looking for cheap alternatives to the original products that come with guarantees. They export them to Africa and some of us end up buying these substandard products at exorbitant prices, risking lives and property unknowingly.

These substandard products include gadgets, building materials and hardware accessories. I am really bothered by this, but what bothers me more is the fact that we are so relaxed in using technologies that are out of date, instead of fixing some of our existing problems. The world is now focused on quantum computers, growth of Artificial intelligence, sustainable power, big data, virtual reality, augmented reality, Internet, robotics, 3D printing, nanotechnology, industrial robots, 5G technology, remote surgery, etc. The fact is that the world is still going to witness a new phase of technological inventions in some years to come and it will either come out as a branch from one of these existing ones or it will stand on its own. Through critical research, it will slowly grow and become sustainable.

It is worthy to note that there are some tech innovations by what I term the “golden” innovations that are created to solve some of the present problems besetting the African continent. But on the flip side, it would not be sustainable, looking into the future. Some of them will fade away within or after some years, as their solutions are redundant and outdated.

A few months ago, I came across a solution being used in an African country, where you will have to use a card, (just like the ATM card), to buy water. I did some research on this solution and asked myself: how long and how far will this solution last before it gets outdated and is seen as a problem? I do not really understand the idea behind its creation, but I am somehow baffled, as to why I have to use a card to fetch water in a public place. Water should, ideally, be running in my house!

Being aware of occasional glitches experienced while recharging our electric meter card in — Finish Reading on the Punch

About the author

Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata Jnr

CFA hosts Tech Trends on Channels Television, writes the ICT Column in the Punch Newspapers & also blogs on cfagbata.com.

CFA currently serves as the African Regional Director of Founder Institute.

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