Excessive IT regulation, digital innovation and market failures — Chris Uwaje

Excessive IT regulation, digital innovation and market failures — Chris Uwaje

Regulating Information Technology (IT) Ecosystem is a complex two-edge sword. On the one hand, development-monitoring significant in pursuit of national vision, strategic plans and set goals.

Development policy powered by standards is a desirable strategy to promote and foster digital innovation processes. On the other hand, regulatory complexities may arise and lead to market failures.

Currently, it seems that the National Information Technology Development Policy framework has run into regulatory troubled waters – especially when the focus is changed from development-monitoring to excessive-regulation under one roof.

Also Read: Nigeria: As Digital Rocket Prepares A Take Off — Chris Uwaje

This uncertainty is often the case when innovation policy aimed at fostering development-monitoring is misinterpreted as regulation.

Experiences from Startup businesses show that innovation can be stiffened and derailed by the mismatch between development and regulation.

Those uncertainties often run amok and directionless in the marketplace of digital innovation and transformation. The notion that irrational government policy in fostering digital innovation can lead to technology innovation failures has been exposed in numerous scholarly research.

Those scholarly research expressed concern on system failures – some of which led to social-cognitive failures (Gustafson & Autio 2006). Essentially, market failures in digital innovation landscape are the complex contradictions between the thin lines of development and regulation.

Those thin lines somersault the center of gravity – where they clash at the mountain top of policy interpretations with the ability to destroy one another! One of the most complex and misunderstood challenges of digital transformation is innovation market failure!

This is better expressed as unforeseen dead ends. This extraordinary scenario is indeed evolutionary, since knowledge as a coefficient and dynamic factor of development is infinite.

A typical example of an unforeseen dead-end is when investors speedily pool funds together to invest in technology processes and solutions that become speedily successful, only to experience a down-slip occasioned by impact of regulations.

It also occurs when new competitors on the block develop new solutions that outsmart and disrupt a winning horse. The potential risk of lock-in digital transformation policy is designing its framework as ‘one size fits all model’.

For example, the proposed bill to repel and re-enact the NITDA Bill 2007 has perhaps not factored the excessive consumerism state of national digital solutions – where wholesale import of foreign products is the order of the day. This amounts to non-developmental process, stagnates critical innovation pushes and decelerates digital transformation. It must be emphasized that market failures induced by government policy are often rooted in market stagnation which further leads to economic stagflation.

Market stagnation also leads to innovation fatigue, begets brain-drain syndrome (Japa), Investment flight and gross under-development. And the more a recovery plan intensifies, the shape of its attainment further elongates in complexity. Market innovation and market stagnation belong to the same category of digital innovation research. They are derived from the assumptions of market consumerism that murders creativity and empowers welfare economics.

These amongst other valid reasons are why the NITDA (Repel and enactment) Bill 2003 should be decoded and put on hold. The Nigerian Senate should be encouraged to take another critical look at the proposed Bill and pursue a transformative legislation. The orchestrated intent to murder IT Nigeria should be halted.

The consequences would be uncountable and traumatic if they neglect the wise counsel of Nigerian ICT Stakeholders both at home and in the Diaspora.Nigeria must urgently reimagine her digital transformation vision, mission, and sustainable agenda.

What is currently at the table of the Senate may lead to an unrecoverable digital innovation disaster! Indeed, the technology and innovation exploit out-of-Africa are numerous and most are still hidden by circumstances beyond the discussions in this paper.

In pursuit of the need to demystify the narratives that Nigeria/Africa was a dark continent hunted and consumed by crisis and illness (which are far from the truth), it should be emphasized that indeed, “Nigerians/Africans and the Ancient Egyptians can be defined as a civilization of “firsts”.

They made huge advancements in mathematics and were pioneers of medical science. They were the first people to use waterways as trade routes and to make tools from bronze. They are also credited with developing the first phonetic alphabet which was widely used due to the invention of papyrus paper, which in turn led to the development of the first postal system. Unarguably, they were also the first people to use toothpaste and wear wigs.

Because of numerous wars and invasions, their ancient culture was slowly replaced over time. Perhaps, one of the foremost contributions of medical scientific knowledge that saved humanity from extinction in 1721 was a poor slave out of Africa. The killer smallpox epidemic of 1721 and the procedure of using the fluid of an infected person to inoculate another person.

Since technology is derivative of human knowledge, the credit of numerous technological findings, processes, products, and services should therefore belong to Africa.

Regrettably, in those days, there were no patenting agreements, so Africa’s technology knowledge, inventions and innovations became a free-for-all Intellectual Property (IP) – without credit to Africa! As Nigeria further interrogates the trajectory of the digital promise in furtherance of sustainable development, there is need to stoop and reimagine the vision.

What is Nigeria’s Promise and how do we attain it? Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Digital potentials, benefits and risks are colossal. To comprehend the character and preponderance status of Nigeria (as the single largest concentration of people of African descent on Planet Earth) in the evolution of knowledge of things (KoT), it is worthwhile to reimagine how to attain our lofty digital goals.

Over the years, Data and information manipulations and misinformation have intentionally and negatively affected Nigeria’s digital transformation agenda by outsiders who by guesswork, tell our IT story for biased purposes.

Now is the time for Nigerian IT Stakeholders to tell the true story themselves to map her sustainable digital pathway and innovation destiny.

Augmenting the above path within the context of mapping the visionary way forward we need robust Stakeholders recovery control-strategies. Nigeria needs to make technology response and collaboration with Nigerians in Diaspora as an inevitable intervention and critical mechanism for success, sustainable development, and survivability.

The core pillar to Nigeria’s digital promise and economic recovery success – on the long-term, reside in harnessing the power of (digital knowledge education) Software Application and Solutions for continent development and export. Yes, this enormous advantage has been neglected and unannounced for a long time!

Today, our innovation potential is weakened by the wedge of global financial Aid, rather than prioritizing education. But we cannot continue to steal the future of our children! It is therefore time to restore trust in the ability and audacity of Software Applications and Services developed in Africa, by Africans wherever they may be anywhere in the world.

In our professional assessment, the cumulative potentials of ICT Solutions, processes and services currently developed and supported by Nigerians/Africans all over the world is worth over $100trillion USD – including unaccounted patents and IP missing in digital action (MIDA).

The digital promise for Nigeria/Africa therefore resides in the mastery of Scientific, STEM education, Emerging Technology and Innovation.

The opportunities and benefits are many: AI Challenges and Cybersecurity represents windows of critical engagements and opportunities for Nigeria IT Ecosystem, Apart from the facts already established above, opportunities abound in Nigeria in engaging existing low hanging fruits in agriculture, digital education, healthcare, mining, and the associated value chains; prioritization of intra-African trade, collaboration across regions and the promotion of an ICT driven African economy engendered by policies framework developed and implemented through a multi-stakeholder model.

The infrastructural and industrial challenges in Nigeria/Africa are huge but Africa would do well to utilize its moderate gain in scientific literacy and digital citizenship to boost industrial development and the roll-out of critical infrastructure through increased localization of manufacturing.

The time for policy makers to take the decisive step is now. Going forward, the organisational structure and delivery responsibilities of NITDA must be unbundled now without further delay, before it becomes an albatross of digital business failures.

It is pertinent to note that this emerging phenomenon is not without its embedded risks, which overtime may become critical. The good news is that knowledge dispersal will create an unpredictable and indeed, unstoppable reconditioning of the Class system.

The new class struggle would dismantle the current structures of class struggle – predominantly built on race. The new open-knowledge propelled struggle would be built exclusively on cerebral merit. This leads to the capability to remodel Governance, Leadership structure, related Institutions, Disrupt Market Economy, and Business value chains – going forward.

Fact is, no one can precisely predict the shape of things to come, as empires will continue to rise and fall! Digital Transformation is not just the responsibility of Government, Business, Families, Stakeholders, but principally how to strengthen the ethics of international collaboration for global resource sharing. It is therefore significant for Nigeria to think anew without the box, bearing in mind that the global population of the future is now swarming towards 9.7billion.

As we march towards 2050 – where Nigeria’s population is projected to be 409 million people. How will merit in knowledge be configured and classified in future, since the pandemic has somersaulted what is hitherto classed as best practice?

Will the poor flip and outsmart the status of poverty as humanity struggles with Nanotech, Big Data, IoT, AI, VR, and embedded emotional intelligence, etc?

What will the future of consumer-demand and preference of Africans look like as we confront the intensity and boom of Crypto generation and e-Commerce, and the future of work and life in the digital Ecosystem? This presents a huge opportunity window for Africa and her youthful population.

Related posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.