I remain optimistic that with technology, most of the problems we have in Nigeria would be minimised drastically. Countries like India and China are practical examples of what I am saying. There are tons of practical examples to back this claim up.
Over the years, there have been lots of predictions, such as robbots taking the jobs of humans in the future, although sad part of technology. There was also another prediction by the defunct Bank PHB, that cars would run on water.
Although, you cannot say cars are running on waters but new technology is assisting cars to run on either sugarcane ethanol or biofuel. These are organic and digestible waste and not necessarily oil.
Interestingly,the brain behind what has happened in China and other economic tigers is that there is future in technology and earlier developing nations like Nigeria start harnessing it, the better it becomes.
We have recorded series of success in the telecommunication industry, it has been tested and proven that technology would be the panacea to solving Nigeria’s major problems. No doubt, we have some significant level of technological improvement in Nigeria, but expansion and further exploration is of the essence.
Sadly, there has been much dependence on our major source of revenue, although declining due to several factors. At the moment, it’s quite commendable to say Nigeria is rolling out plans to ease off the reliance on the oil revenue. There have been several attempts by previous and current administrations to chart another way to increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country is being met with issues.
However, being active the little I can in the industry, as well as considering the global ICT trend, and knowledge economy, they will make oil insignificant in next few years, according to analysts.
In 2016, The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) reported over $35b in the nation’s telecommunications industry from Foreign Direct Investment. This figure is just a tip of an iceberg, when we start doing the needful, we would see more of the same.
Meanwhile, stakeholders in this industry believe that, though Nigeria is currently the fastest growing telecoms market in the world if she didn’t brace up to happenings around her, the fate of the dinosaur might await her.
What Nigeria must do
Emmanuel Ekuwem, Managing Director, Telecom Group believes that there can’t be innovation without knowledge.
Nigeria needs to re-engineer its education system, and a situation where there is 70 per cent against 30 per cent science students is not acceptable. He opines that there should need to train our children in mathematics and another 15 to 20 years, Nigeria begins to benefit.
‘Nigeria has huge potentials and great talents but lamented that Nigerians don’t patronize themselves but believe more in expatriate, which shouldn’t be, he notes.”
As Nigeria strives to lessen its dependency on oil, is critical to invest and support the FG’s initiatives to cultivate and develop the ICT ecosystem. And broaden the composition of economic drivers within the country.
“The introduction of mobile phone technology to Nigeria is a classic example of the massive shift. We can instigate this in an economy”, says Eghosa Omoigui, Founder and Managing General Partner, EchoVC Partners.
Obviously, the ICT sector has the unique capability to revolutionize a country and create innovation in areas previously undiscovered
Another key player in the industry, Lanre Ajayi, President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), echoes that with appropriate government policies. Things could change, and as a matter of urgency, the government should deregulate the oil and gas sector.
That is just the simple truth, when I worked in Globacom, I was already seeing the future of technology. If we can get deregulation right, the miracle in the telecoms sector will be duplicated in the oil and gas industry. In other words, if the sector is deregulated, Nigerians can fix their prices, and the country will be better for it.
Consequently, I have looked at the science and technology generally and find out that there are some regions that need to be deepened. We have seen lots of developments and initiative only in Lagos majorly. It has to be evenly shared and distributed.
“There was a need for the implementation of science and technology across the board as this would be a good alternative to oil, says Dayo Adefila, Co-Founder, and CEO, Hot sauce Ltd.
Also, there is an incredible growth in e-commerce, which is an element of adaptation and being able to do something differently.
We can’t wait for the government all the time. We need to use ICT tools to turn around the economy for good,” he adds.
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) should be given the opportunity to showcase what they are doing, saying, “Policy is derived from valid information, and there is the need for data to be taken quite seriously, analyze and plan.” Says Sunday Afolayan, President, Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA).
Entrepreneurs and Startups
According to reports, Nigerians are some of the cleverest and hardworking entrepreneurs we in a world.
Interestingly, lots of tech start-ups with innovative ideas keep springing up.
We have seen how creative and innovative some Nigerian entrepreneurs are during exhibitions and expos.
When NITDA sponsored some start-ups at the GITEX Technology Week held in UAE capital, Dubai, last year, it was just awesome to see them showcase their talents and abilities.
Eghosa Omoigui has this to say: “They want to create a brighter future for themselves and generations to come. Technology can help them do just that. We have also seen that the very best time to invest in high-quality ICT entrepreneurs is in the context of fear and uncertainty.
We are very committed to seeing this happen in Nigeria. For now, what we see is a mismatch of conviction between entrepreneurs and investors. We share the same levels of confidence that our local entrepreneurs have, and are here to stay. Make no mistake; we are not in the business of giving grants.” says Eghosa
We need to start implementing policies, extend science and technology to other regions, develop the tech ecosystem, explore technology tools to further drive this course. When we do these, most of the issues bedevilling the nation get drastically minimised.