Expert Harps on Promotion of African Digital Capabilities to Address Challenges 

Emma Okonji

In order to address the myriad of challenges facing the Nigerian digital tech startups, including the wider African challenges, which range from electricity to funding, and internet penetration to regulation, a technology expert and analyst, Oswald Osaretin Guobadia, has called for the promotion of African digital capabilities that will enhance deeper knowledge of the infrastructure needed to achieve digital transformation.

According to Guobadia, no doubt, Nigeria and other African countries have the potential to be world leaders in the digital tech ecosystem, but stressed that to achieve this, Africa must lay a solid foundation that will promote the African digital capabilities. 

Describing digitalisation as the utilization of technology to enhance daily activities such that difficult operations across various sectors are much more simplified, Guobadia said the transformation in the Nigerian banking system is an example of the importance of digitalisation and the advantages that come with it. 

“Digital economy is important, but having the infrastructure to power this is much more important. The application of Artificial Intelligence (AI), accelerated wireless connectivity, and the spread of relatively inexpensive computing systems mean that the tech ecosystem can offer a faster and more efficient world for businesses and other activities that will improve the Nigerian and African business environment as many companies have adopted the use of digital technology.

“While startups see their innovations as disruptions, policymakers in the system may see these innovations as displacements. This implies that the innovations of startups are here to enhance productivity, provide further solutions, and make life generally easier,” Guobadia said.

The key to ensuring that these paradigm shifts do not lead to a dysfunctional ecosystem or adversely impact the economy is that both practitioners and policymakers within the ecosystem engage and collaborate to develop dynamic policies and regulations that will increase innovation whilst managing the potential displacement, Guobadia further said.

Guobadia therefore advised founders and other tech enthusiasts to play an active part in governance, in order to ensure that the Nigerian digital tech space get true representation at the highest level of governance and make room for the passage of laws that will cause it to continually thrive. Citing the Nigeria Startup Bill (NSB) that was recently passed by the National Assembly, Guobadia said the Bill would ensure that Nigeria’s laws and regulations are clear, well-planned, and beneficial to the tech industry. It will also help create an enabling environment for growth and attract and protect investment in the tech space. Key to its success would be the quality of implementation and complete sub-national adoption.  

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