ICT Clinic (Punch Newspaper)

Encouraging indigenous tech solutions for global relevance [ICT Clinic]

The year 2019 has been an interesting one for technology in Nigeria. According to figures released recently by the National Bureau of Statistics, the Information and Communications Technology’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product has increased to 13.8 per cent. As long as we do the right things such as investing in the sector and supporting the development of homegrown solutions, then the percentage is likely to go up.

I am a bit worried each time I hear of how much we spend as a country on foreign solutions that can be developed and maintained locally. While it is okay to allow innovation from all parts of the world into our country, we should develop a national strategy otherwise, billions of dollars will continually leave the shores of our land annually to support the growth of other economies and ecosystems.

Africans are designed, to be creative, as their acquisition of diverse skills has led to the proliferation of traditional industries at the same time when the industrial revolution was taking place, in mainstream Europe and America. For Africa to be among the league of continents pushing for technological innovations that can cut across the globe, it needs to encourage its already existing local innovative solutions and develop new ones that can compete on a global stage.

The role of institutions and individuals in the tech ecosystem is to stimulate this and back it up with concrete actions that cannot be downplayed. The role of African governments too cannot be overemphasised. In Africa, there is the need to push concrete policies that will bring about effective progress. These policies should encourage the sustainability of indigenous tech innovative solutions that can propel Africans to live better and fulfilled lives.

This way, dependence on imports of solutions from foreign lands to our common and daily challenges will reduce and such saved funds can be utilised in other areas for the benefit of the African people. We can even make a case for the exportation of our local software, first among the countries within Africa and then beyond the shores of Africa.

This is one path that tech advocates on the continent cannot ignore. Taking steps towards global recognition of African indigenous solutions requires the strong backing and input of the government. One of the ways this can happen is to further encourage the local content policy to take a firmer root in the country.

Indigenous technology products answer the needs of the general population thus, reducing the regular flooding of the market with unnecessary foreign products. For instance, in this digital age, technology has immensely changed the way financial transactions and general payment is carried out in all parts of the world.

One of the key steps, to successfully, launch an indigenous technology solution for global software recognition is, through “disruption”. This is, the term that, describes big changes, in sectors, brought about, by technology.

One thing that should be noted, however, is that, for Africans to be able to export their innovations, to other sister countries in Africa and beyond the shores of Africa, there is the need for them to think global, when designing their innovative solutions. They should always think of disruptions to the status quo that simplifies the challenges, result oriented and also minimises costs. These are some of the attributes that, make for global software solutions that will be attractive outside the shores of each African country.

For instance, disruptions in the financial services industry across the world, was inevitable, in the late 1990s, thus, the — Finish Reading on the Punch