How, why disruptive ICT lift Nigeria out of recession
The weakness of the economic recovery in Nigeria raises questions about the ability of all the fiddling by economic managers to underpin the economy.
Now, having tried everything and failed, investment in innovation and knowledge economy can help the country navigate its way out of this recession.
During period of economic recession, what most countries do to get out of the situation is to invest in human capital.
Singapore, Korea, China, and India are clear examples of countries which deliberately invested in knowledge capital and today, the rest of the world are looking up to them to tap into their technology skills.
For Nigeria, ICT presents a short cut out of the present economic conundrum.
For instance, investment in connectivity—whether the Internet or mobile phones—is increasingly bringing market information, financial services, health services—to remote areas, and is helping to change people’s lives in unprecedented ways.
One common contribution is that it increases productivity and makes the market work more efficiently.
Massive investment in ICT infrastructure like technology parks or hubs will help reduce unemployment in the country because restless youth can channel their energies into productive ventures.
And because of the diverse nature of the country, the ideal investment will be to have at least three or more innovation hubs across the six geopolitical zones.
These hubs should focus on the peculiarities of their zone; for instance; Lagos for eCommerce; Abuja for eGovernance; Enugu for eCommerce and agriculture; Port Harcourt for eEnergy; Kaduna for eAgriculture; and Maiduguri for eAgric.
These hubs should serve as incubation centres for ideas with a view to growing them into commercially viable solutions that will generate revenue for the country.
But the federal government has a critical role to play here.
Government and its functionaries must muster the needed drives and strategies to harness these latent forces to fire the kiln of development.
Necessary awareness must also be created and imbued on all Nigerians on the need to encourage and patronise locally made ICT products.
In addition to national policies that allow free and open entrepreneurship and national e-government services, regional and community level leadership is necessary to encourage innovative application of ICT to public services, health, education and all aspects of community life.