Nigeria clocks 60 today! This marks the sixth decades since the country gained independence from the British. The political history of the country since 1960 is filled with ups and downs and dominated by coups, democracy, recession and technological advancement.
While Nigeria might still have issues uncommon for 60-year-old countries, the growth of technology has taken the front seat in improving the quality of life of its people since independence.
Beyond obvious perks of independence like freedom, democracy has also ushered in an era of impressive tech developments like never before.
Technological advancements have improved people’s standard of living, increase leisure time, help reduce poverty, and lead to a greater variety of new products and services.
Below are 6 ways technology has improved the quality of life for Nigerians in the last 60 years.
Due to Nigeria’s large population, there has always been a huge need for jobs in the country ever since independence. The growth of technology has helped to significantly manage the growing number of unemployment.
The ICT sector is one of the largest employers of labour in the country and is directly responsible for creating millions of jobs. According to the NCC, ICT alone provided about 2.5 million jobs in 10 years.
In 2013, the global tech market grew by 8%, creating jobs, providing salaries and a widening range of services and products.
Although some will claim that new technology steals jobs by reducing labour, it does not cause a net increase in unemployment or make labour obsolete. It is a net creator of jobs because the resulting higher profits are reinvested.
Also, as technological improvements increase productivity, the demand for labour will tend to rise, thereby creating more job opportunities and raising wages.
At a time of slowed growth and continued volatility due to the pandemic, technology provides the government with the opportunity to create millions of jobs.
Crude Oil may have driven the growth of Nigeria’s GDP since the 1960s but ICT has taken over in the last decade. The sector is currently one of the fastest-growing industries in the last decade.
According to NCC stats, ICT alone contributed N31.86 trillion to Nigeria’s GDP in the last 5 years. ICT broadband is also associated with GDP as World Economic Forum reports that a 10% increase in broadband penetration is associated with a 1.4% increase in GDP growth in emerging markets.
The doubling of mobile data use caused by the increase in 3G connections boosts GDP per capita growth rate by 0.5% globally.
ICT accounts for as much as 17.8% of overall GDP in Nigeria. Most of this impact is driven by telecommunications and e-commerce – people advertising and selling goods online.
Banking has evolved over the years and is now at a stage of evolution fueled by technology. The introduction of mobile money, USSD and digital banking has not only eased how Nigerians bank, but it has also helped the drive towards financial inclusion in the country.
In 2019, Sub-Saharan Africa was projected to gain 50 million new mobile money accounts. According to GSMA, West Africa now has a total of about 163 million mobile money accounts.
Western Africa led by Nigeria recorded about 4.8 billion transaction volume and an impressive $130 billion in transaction value
With an Adult population of 114 million 60% of which are unbanked, technology is helping Nigeria bridge the gap in the country.
The sector has witnessed the establishment of different fintech startups proferring solutions to banking problems like Flutterwave and Paystack. Many of these startups have grown into huge companies and raising a significant amount of investment.
Work/ Business Transformation
Up until very recently, the idea of work revolved around the common 8-5 office schedule. However, the new norm of remote working instigated by the pandemic has changed how we do work.
While many still debate the good and bad of it, the new remote working has some obvious benefits like reduced traffic time, flexible work schedule among others.
Similarly, organisations and enterprises have changed the way they transact business. The kind of tech employed in business today effectively destroys the myth of physical cash as the beacon for commerce.
Every day, more businesses create online presences. The Internet provides them with new ways of reaching out to customers and competing for market share.
ICT tools employed within companies help to streamline business processes and improve efficiency.
The recent influx of e-commerce into the market place and stores along with the boom of social media have established itself as a powerful marketing tool.
From Post office letters to landlines, mobile phones and then smartphones, communication in Nigeria has evolved over the years to become easier to communicate with people anywhere across the world.
A major turning point for communication was the privatization of the telecom industry during the presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo. This opened the door for entities such as MTN, Glo, MTEL, 9Mobile, and Airtel (formerly Econet/V-Mobile/Celtel) to enter the Nigerian telecom space.
The arrival proceeded the era that reduced the cost of calls and brought about other notable developments like the boom of the internet.
In the early 2000s, access to the internet was not so widespread. The introduction of mobile operators however changed that as it pushed the rapid growth and adoption of the internet in Nigeria.
The internet is the most important catalyst of tech in the 21st century. In Nigeria currently, there are 198.96 million GSM subscribers in the country. This is more than 90% of the countries population. Internet subscribers are about 146.73 million.
Millions of lives have been saved in Nigeria because of technological inputs into the field of medicine. Technology has greatly improved diagnosis and has led to the prompt discovery of diseases. This has also led to the early commencement of treatment which usually gives patients a fighting chance. There is also massive improvement in treatment.
Apart from research, technology has also been used to improve the day to day activities of hospitals. Several Health tech startups have sprung up to help hospitals digitize records and automate restocking for drugs.
There are some other startups that have ventured into self-diagnostic software, Virtual consultation apps among others. With the Covid-19 pandemic this year, technology like contact-tracing was very vital in saving the lives of many Nigerians.
Information communications technology (ICT) is not only an important enabler of innovation and development it is also one of the fastest-growing industries in the last decade.
The influence of technology is immense and can’t be overstated. An innovative idea from one man not only contributes to the progress of others but also creates conditions permitting people to advance even further.
Technology Innovations do not simply replace other products. Rather, they develop new and expanded markets of their own. Happy Independence and cheers next decade of technological innovation.
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