Technology is key in the development of virtually all nations of the world. It has contributed immensely to all sectors of the economy, and it is intimately connected with development. It has a historical record of bringing advances that have led to healthier, wealthier, and more productive lives, and is a key ingredient to solutions to the most serious poverty alleviation and economic development challenges that we currently face and are likely to face in the future. Young people are oftentimes regarded as tech-natives who need almost no assistance when it comes to the use of technological tools. We can therefore leverage these two elements in changing the stories of all developing nations for good. Described below are ways in which youth can use technology for the betterment of societies:
TECHNOLOGY IN GOVERNANCE: Technology is a great tool for democratic governance in Nigeria, and countries that have adopted and applied technology to their operations have witnessed dramatic improvement in their developmental efforts. It helps to improve governance, widen democratic space, increase productivity, and saves cost. We have initiatives like EIE NIGERIA (Nigeria’s foremost good governance and civic advocacy organization) and budgIT (an innovative enterprise of passionate people, whose operation is to simplify the Nigerian budget and public data, making it accessible to the general public to aid participatory governance) using technology to change societies for good.
TECHNOLOGY IN COMMUNICATION: Outside the classroom, the use of mobile phones has made the world a much smaller place. There have been a significant increase in connectivity across cities, and nations. We need more home-grown social media platforms like Nairaland (which is Nigeria’s biggest indigenous website and only Facebook, Yahoo, and Google have more views than it), and we need digital rights policies to protect us from infringement like that of the Twitter ban.
TECHNOLOGY IN EDUCATIONAL SECTOR: Technology helps in increasing access to information and knowledge. The use of internet technology in classrooms would ensure direct contact with the latest information on any subject. Thus, keep the classroom updated with the rest of the world. This is already being used in some developed and most developing countries, what are we waiting for? We have full-blown tech-enabled universities like Nexford University (a next-generation, online university based in Washington DC), where people pursue their degrees without having to visit any physical classroom.
TECHNOLOGY IN POVERTY ALLEVIATION & JOB CREATION: 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 amount of unemployment, which according to data from the World Bank is at 10.7 percent as of 2019. The ICT sector is one of the largest employers of labor in the country and is directly responsible for creating millions of jobs. We have tech-enabled job search platforms like Jobber man, helping youth learn skills and earn from their skills.
TECHNOLOGY IN BANKING: Banking has evolved over the years and is now at a stage of evolution fuelled by technology. The introduction of mobile money, USSD, and digital banking has not only eased how Nigerian banks operate but has also helped the drive towards financial inclusion in the country. We have the likes of homegrown fintech start-ups like PIGGYVEST ( a very secure online savings platform that makes saving possible by combining discipline plus flexibility to make you grow your savings) and COWRYWISE (which helps Nigerians save and invest money regularly. They are re-imagining and reworking how financial services get delivered to people).
TECHNOLOGY IN THE WORKPLACE: Up until very recently, the idea of work revolved around the common 8-5 office schedule. However, the new way of remote working necessitated by the pandemic has changed the way we 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. Let us leverage platforms such as Zoom, Google Meets, Teams.
TECHNOLOGY IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP: Buying and Selling are now done in a simple and comfortable way. The POS machine is made available in all stores for easy payment from physical stores, with the use of ATM cards, thereby reducing the risk of carrying physical cash around. The introduction of the cashless policy and other payment initiatives has seen many Nigerians utilizing digital payment methods for their transactions. With the push for the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, youth can leverage technology to take the lead.
TECHNOLOGY IN HEALTHCARE: Millions of lives have been saved in Nigeria because of technological inputs into the field of medicine. Technology has led to the prompt discovery of diseases, and early commencement of treatment which usually gives patients an opportunity to fight for their lives. Through healthcare technology, patients receive better health care, health information, and alerts from doctors on health issues. Also, IVF technologies for pregnant women, artificial insemination, incubation technology, and Caesarean section have eased deliveries of healthy babies.
TECHNOLOGY IN AGRICULTURE: Some years ago, when I visited Egypt, I noticed that some of the food they ate, especially the fruits weren’t grown on natural soil. They technologically improvised their agricultural system to allow them to grow in the house. Advances in technology have facilitated higher yields, greater efficiency, and greater nutritional content in the world’s food supply. Food production must double in the coming decades to meet rising demand and meet the challenges entailed in inter alia improving resistance to drought, pests, and temperature extremes.
TECHNOLOGY IN AFFORDABLE ENERGY: Access to affordable energy is essential for people currently living without electricity and is a prerequisite for economic growth. Further advancement and application of research are needed to find new environmentally and socially sustainable technology that can meet the energy needs of development.
GOVERNMENT: Foreign direct investment often introduces world-class technologies and technical expertise to developing countries. Our government needs to encourage FDI by creating policies that enable foreign businesses and investors to thrive in our economy, thereby increasing the influx of innovative technologies into Nigeria from developed countries. The growth of emerging markets has been attached largely to incoming foreign direct investment.
YOUTH: Build up capacities and skills such that when the opportunities come to compete with your peers in other countries, you aren’t found wanting. It’s no longer news that some young Nigerians now work for companies in the US and Canada, the code and design for them. So as much as possible get prepared, acquire as many skills as possible.
In conclusion, do not avoid new technology, and don’t be the kind of person who sticks to old things. These days, technology helps to foster growth and scale up operations through the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning that helps you make wise decisions, and automate your processes without much human interference.
IVolunteer International is a 501(c)3 tech-nonprofit registered in the United States with operations worldwide. Using a location-based mobile application, we mobilize volunteers to take action in their local communities. Our vision is creating 7-billion volunteers. We are an internationally recognized nonprofit organization and is also a Civil Society Associated with the United Nations Department of Global Communications. Visit our profiles on Guidestar, Greatnonprofits, and FastForward.