Technology poses as oil in the 21st Century
Clive Humby, a British mathematician, who doubles as Tesco marketing mastermind brought about the mantra, “Data is the new Oil”. This has been argued as some individuals have modified the statement to mean, “Time is the new oil”, and not data. Other individuals have stated that data is only like oil, meaning it has to be refined for it to function as oil.
Data analysis is tangible in almost every system that desires growth in this new age. No organization will function well without being accurate, and up to date in the use and application of data, and analytics.
The International Data Corporation (IDC) stated that worldwide revenues from both data and business analytics would grow from $103 billion to over $203 billion in 2020, at a compound annual growth rate of 11.7 per cent. Imagine if the Nigerian economy could benefit from that. Interestingly, data analytics is only feasible when the appropriate technologies are available.
Technologies are giving ingenious youths in Nigeria the opportunities to express themselves. These tech savvy Nigerian youths are now being lured away to other nations, because of the value they are able to give, and which their new destinations are willing to pay for. The average junior developer, the first stage in many technology companies, in the U.S is paid $65,188 per year, and sometimes with a cash bonus.
After a discussion with Melvin Ezeagwu, a user interface designer, he said: “Tech is a field where you can offer services in diverse ways, not necessarily one particular field, unlike other disciplines.” The Nigerian designer further said; “As a person in tech, you can always learn any other aspects in the field and be able to serve when your clients need you, best of it is that almost any job as a developer or tech can be done remotely.”
A case in point is that of Ignatius Asabor, a 22-year-old drone maker who was recently employed by a company in Finland, Radai Limited, because of his expertise in drone designing and making, employing environmental and geophysical data processing and modelling. Asabor who at this time is the only youth to have been granted a job in the Finland company, the way it happened might also be a path for other inventive international proficient youth in that field, as Saartenoja, Radar Limited Managing Director stated on his social media page.
When Asabor was in the news recently, Nigerians expressed their happiness for him via the microblogging applications, Twitter and Instagram. He has since migrated to Finland. In the last couple of years, there are a lot of youths from Nigeria leaving this country, with hope of getting something better to do with their lives overseas.
In Nigeria, and all over the world, the Covid-19 pandemic that led to lockdown in 2020 also showed how the adoption of technologies could boost productivity in every sector. This is because so many organisations moved a significant amount of their activities online.
Businesses, education centres, entertainment industries were able to leverage on the products of innovation to remain in business during the pandemic. In Nigeria, the technology sector yielded 15 per cent growth in GDP, and that made it the second highest after the agriculture sector, in 2020. The growth in the technology sub sector in 2020 followed earlier growth trajectory in recent years especially between 2016 and 2019.
The increased productivity in the technology sub sector as well as in other critical sub sectors in the last five years has helped Nigeria to maintain its position as the largest market in Africa. The country currently has as many as 85 registered tech hubs, about 250 fintech companies which turns out to be one of the most viable section of technology companies which are being managed by highly educated people.
Flutterwave, Bamboo, Jumia, Paystack, Patricia are technology platforms that could be attributed to Nigerians. These companies and others like them are helping in job creation as well as enhancing the productivity of sectors that need their services.
A report from the Centre for Global Development (CDG) published in July 2021 stated that the numbers of educated youths, who live in the urban area but unemployed, are many in Nigeria and the unemployment within their group leaves Nigeria as having the highest youth unemployment in Sub-Saharan Africa. The report also shows that Nigeria’s current population will increase by about 100 million new people under the age of 35 by 2040. It also deduced that up to 30 million jobs will need to be created by 2030 in order to meet the current increasing population.
The youths are now finding the appropriate platforms in the tech space. For instance, the fintech companies Nigeria raised about $439 million for expansion of their operations in 2019.
The demand for technologies has risen during the pandemic because tech has made it efficient for us to work from the comfort of our homes. This is what technology stakeholders in Nigeria want to enhance as people now pay for traveling, buying food, being able to study, and buy credits with the aid of the appropriate technologies. Time is also an effective reason as to why many have bought into tech.
Regardless of the progress being made in the tech space, challenges still exist. Some fundamentals skills required for technologies to function are not part of the Nigerian school curricular, and this gap brings a deficit to our growth in the nation. To address this gap in the short term, most tech gurus are reading and seeking knowledge especially on the internet, while some work as interns and are trained in the field. Others have left in search of the missing link overseas.
Going forward, it is advisable to create standard projects and platforms in order to provide essential services and knowledge to support the young generation in Nigeria. It will also be great if the ministry of education allow the inclusion of data analytics in the secondary school level curriculum.
Tertiary institutions in the country should be given enough flexibility to modernise their curricular to reflect the needs of the industry in the 21st century. Modernizing the nation’s education curricular will benefit this country in many ways. One of these benefits is that Nigeria will have more companies like Flutterwave which has now become a unicorn.
Technology as it is widely called has offered versatility to every sector in the country, from the banking and finance sector, to agriculture, food and entertainment industry, as well as every system that deals with data, and its analysis.
Nigeria has not tapped the innate abilities of its tech savvy citizens, most of who are migrating to other countries, especially Europe, and the United States of America that have provided conducive environments for tech savvy individuals to be successful.