Anticipating the future-of-things and development of Africa and African nations, Dr. Leo Stan Ekeh – the digital Entrepreneur Emeritus of Africa and Chairman of ZINOX Group – recently muted the vision of declaration of October 1st as national IT Day for Nigeria.
The central argument of his enigmatic proposal is that moving forward, the Nigerian nation must dream new digital dreams. The new dream must commence by decelerating from the euphoria of Independence Day and advancing to emerge with a Moon shot at the other side of the new trajectory. In this new course in our future adventure, we must follow the Rainbow and independently think without the box.
However, what constitutes the beneficial substances of re-imagining the Nigerian future? A very lucid question indeed! Will the digital evolution validate the known adage that “When the poor has nothing more to eat; they will consume the Rich”? The foregoing may become a recurring decimal, unless Africa race-up to avoid the looming digital Tsunami; with the capability and consequences of transporting the continent ‘travelling back in time, from digital divide to emerging digital poverty!
Indeed, Africa must reverse the journey towards unethical penury and seize the advantage of the digital transformation to re-invent self. Corporate Governance and Social Justice remain the most precious finds in the treasure hunt of our future mission. It is a task that must be done. It is significant that the task cannot be delivered for Africa by others.
Arriving from my recent Keynote on the Theme: “AFRICA’S POST-PANDEMIC HIGH-TECH WORLD” virtually hosted by Digital Africa at the 8th Edition of Digital Africa Conferences & Exhibition 2020; one of my key recommendations was: ‘A call for the Declaration of “AFRICA DIGITAL DAY” by the Africa Union (AU). The central purpose is to empower the Youth to engage and own the emerging digital knowledge Olympiad; by instituting a Special Continental Hackathon for Digital Transformation Readiness and Innovation for Africa.
Specifically, the first line of action is reconstructing the mindset and political will to defeat consumerism and corruption; while enthroning bold philosophies of prioritizing merit for advancement in science and technology-enabled manufacturing.
Certainly, Nigeria must lead this complex mission in the combat of global digital knowledge acquisition.
Why is the declaration of Africa Digital Day important?
Navigating the digital imperatives invites Africa to commence the exploration of the new trajectory for future world of tech for Africa; by revisiting the digital infrastructure landscape, determining her dynamic innovation capacities and knowledge clusters; re-thinking compulsory education, science, technology & innovation; retooling the workforce; digital inclusion, youth & citizens empowerment section and facilitating the development of Africa’s Youth employment & digital wealth creation.
Also, this call includes: re-imagining national economic development and corporate governance pathways; fast-tracking government mandatory responsibilities through proactive intervention strategies; consciously analysing our environment, communication and digital divide challenges in Africa and prepare for the knowledge Olympiad – which includes raising a future digital army for national and continental security.
For all intent and purposes, the keynote emphasized on the imperatives of science and technology as panacea for the advancement of knowledge as the major magnetic runway to a sustainable digital economy.
No doubt, since time immemorial, the economy has been central to human activities and livelihood. But without a constructive and extremely skilled digital knowledge presence, the resultant effect is consumerism. This amongst others for example is why Nigeria generates an internal revenue of $9 billion as against $39billion import. Furthermore, this reference to Nigeria’s state of digital affairs, is overtly critical; because Nigeria plus South Africa’s improvement of 1% in their GDP results to a rise of 0.5% of GDP in that of all other African countries, due to their market inter-connectedness.
In line with the European Union (EU) mission, the concept of Digital Day has been a unique event intended to enable the EU and interested Member States to pool efforts and resources with a view to accelerating digital developments in key areas that can bring tangible benefits to their economies and societies. In the past two years, the Digital Day was the occasion to launch important cooperation initiatives in the areas of super-computing; digital industry, connected and automated driving, AI, Blockchain and e-Health.
For the completeness of the declaration of “Africa Digital Day”; the continent must also be prepared to explore and yield to the accompanying recommendations;
1. Make digital science, technology, innovation and indigenous content patronage the core priority for Africa’s sustainable development; as well as wealth creation.
2. Advance national, regional and continental telecommunications infrastructure with assurances of Broadband everywhere and application of Cloundization strategy.
3. Promote a five-year national, regional, and continental software innovation strategic plan for Africa.
4. Retool Africa’s workforce and make them e-ready for the future of work in science, technology, innovation and discovery.
5. Promote corporate governance at all leadership levels and adopt a bottom-up strategy by starting digital science at primary and secondary school levels as key response to future of work, innovation, and discovery.
6. Establish Africa digital transformation development fund for the Cloudization of Africa to promote technology parks and centres of excellence as innovation clusters.
7. Create special fiscal policy and investment corridors for innovation research.
8. Promote strategic legislation for local cloud, data privacy and national IP at all levels.
9. African Union to declare “Africa digital day” & empower the youth to engage the emerging digital knowledge Olympiad; through special Africa continental Hackathon for digital transformation readiness and innovation.
10. Dream of future schools on the moon and discover the theory of everything.
Moving forward, there should be no further excuses for Africa to continue sitting and failing exams in the same class of knowledge advancement! But the new dream must commence now. With our inner-mind treasure, we must advance from the euphoria of Independence Day to emerge with a Moon shot at the other side of history. In our future adventure, we must follow the Rainbow and independently think without the box.
Swim or sink, our priority choice is digital engagement and indeed, enforcement at all levels. For this and other reasons, Africa Union should enshrine “Digital Rights” in her Bill of Rights; encouraging all members to include it in their National Constitutions as a fundamental human right without further delay.
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