Continuing from Electing 21st Century Dinosaurs or Innovative Visionaries: Tech Sector -1 we take a look at the Responsibility of the Political class
Governments focused on progress commit to the tech industry and profession. As Nigerians get ready for the approaching 2015 election, it is both instructive and puzzlingly outrageous that the political class as a whole underestimates the potential of this sector. ICT is perceived more as an essential than a transformative tool.
21st century dinosaurs in positions of leadership keep setting us back and tying up our hands behind our back.
The political class works against the interests of the nation when it refuses to support and encourage youth innovation, professionalism of the industry and ICT for development advocacy. A good illustration of this unhelpful stance is the inability to enact ICT specific legislation. It’s unfortunate. Paying lip service to innovation in Nigeria is the road to digital serfdom and wasted potential.
While the tech industry and profession must launch itself into the election campaign, sector development is not a matter for the tech sector alone. In addition to players in the social and economic spheres, the vision, leadership and commitment of key actors in the political space makes a difference. As politicians prospect for votes, we must choose leaders at all levels who grasp the issues in ICT – innovative visionaries rather than 21st century dinosaurs. Development in this field is much bigger than the award of software contracts and jumbo spending on tech projects.
The digital adds value when it connects to societal needs. Leverage on technology to provide inclusive solutions in fundamental areas such as agriculture, housing, education and health should be the focus. And achieving meaningful and sustainable results comes from having a healthy and growing tech sector.
Political leaders therefore need to work with stakeholders to overcome challenges facing the industry and profession. Top of the pile are local content development, quality of service issues, ICT human capacity, broadband penetration, Cybersecurity, policy implementation, IT research, funding, youth entrepreneurship, digital exclusion gaps (rural, women, disadvantaged, etc), knowledge culture, stakeholder (industry, profession) engagement and professionalizing the industry.
Innovation and Development Advisor, ICT
“Technology matters, but it is always about PEOPLE”