Technology experts and enthusiasts are confident that digital technology which has
literally transformed almost every aspect of mankind in recent years can act as a
catalyst in accelerating the slow pace of executing business in Nigeria.
The experts argued that if organizations and government take the decisive step of
integrating digital technology into their business operations; they will be equipped
with the requisite capacity to achieve smoother transaction process and
consequently improve their bottom line performance.
The experts who spoke during the Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI) quarterly
Roundtable and book launch recently held in Lagos explained that the robust nature
of the country’s informal sector presents a host of opportunities for entrepreneurs
who take the lead in incorporating digital technologies in their business strategy.
Some of the very important technologies include; data and databases, payment
platforms, virtual reality, mobile applications etc. Clearly, the relevance of these
technologies cannot be overemphasized in today’s dynamic business environment.
According to the experts, other advantages of digital technology is that it enables
organizations business owners and even the government to create digital products
and services that deliver uncommon value across all sectors of the economy.
Delivering the keynote address, Brigit Helms, Vice President, Technical Services, DAI
explained in most advanced economies the informal sector have significantly
improved the quality of their support services and products to other sectors of the
economy because they now leverage on technology, hence, Nigeria needs to tow
the same path.
Helms further highlighted that the bridge in the use of digital technology between
the rich and the poor is also slowing the economy from growing at a commendable
rate; to her, there ought to be a deliberate effort to ensure every Nigerian
regardless of their social status has access to basic digital technologies.
Some of these basic digital technologies include; use of payment platforms to
execute business transactions; a trend that has since commenced in South Africa
and currently shaping Rwanda and Kenya's next growth phase.
To Helms, Nigeria needs to ensure she is not left behind, as the rave of cashless
transactions continues to spread across the continent. She recommended that the
government should institute sustainable structures that supersede the existing
cashless implementation process.
Andrew Nevin, Advisory Partner and Chief Economist, PwC concurred with Helms
noting that the country’s financial system needs to evolve to the point the business
transactions do not depend on cash, adding that Fintechs need to play a more
pronounced role in the financial setup.
When asked how digital technology can be utilized to tackle the increasing rate of
unemployment in the country, Wole Odetayo, Managing Partner, LoftyInc Allied
Partners said, “unemployment can be reduced through the growth of technology-
driven businesses. We need to build new ecosystems and consequently create
value-driven tech-enabled businesses across all sectors of the economy.”
According to Odetayo, technology helps bridge the gap between the rich and the
poor in any society, and Nigeria is not an exception. However, to close the current
divide in social status, he believes the country needs to connect the academia to
several industries in the economy; such that universities produce graduates with
the requisite skills to compete in today’s fast-paced tech space.