Nigeria’s economy is in recession and that is a direct consequence of a lack of economic diversification. For far too long Nigeria has relied on oil revenue almost to the point of neglecting other equally or perhaps more important economic drivers such as science and technology. The startup promo video is key to Nigeria’s economic recovery.
But a sharp decline in global oil prices coming at a time of over reliance on oil revenue has badly exposed the vulnerability of Nigeria’s economy. However, it is not too late to salvage the situation. The government must now support tech innovation because local startups have the potential to help the country deal with its burgeoning unemployment numbers. It boosts government revenue now that oil alone doesn’t rely on to fund the national budget.
Youth unemployment crisis
Things are so bad that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has termed as the current situation as the worst recession Nigeria has seen in 29 years. According to NBS, unemployment is on the rise and unemployment rate among the youth is especially worrying. Unemployment rate in Nigeria rose stood at 10.4% in the fourth quarter of 2015, but rose to 12.1% in the first quarter of 2016 and rose further to 13% in the second quarter of 2016. Youth unemployment stood at 49.5% in the second quarter of 2016.
Despite the gloomy picture, there is an opportunity now for Nigeria to not only pull out of the prevailing economic downturn, but also protect against future economic recessions. Investing in technology is the answer. The government should allocate more economic resources to programs geared toward technology innovation. It will enable an environment that will support better utilization of new and existing technological capacity. Consider creating your startup promo video to reach more audiences.
Pan-Nigeria innovation conferences can be used to light up the fire of technology innovation among the youth across the country. Though technology is helping transform many global economies, Nigeria lags in global innovation ranking of nations. Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, the minister of science and technology, recently disclosed that in the 2015/2016 Global Competitiveness Report. He told that Nigeria ranked 106 out of 140 nations on Technology Readiness. It also ranks 117 out of 140 nations on Innovation. A shortage of government funding for technology R&D can be blamed for Nigeria’s poor innovation ranking on the global stage.
Private sector doing its part
Private entities can be seen trying to help Nigeria raise its technology innovation profile. For instance, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), run by Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, and his wife Priscilla Chan. Also, organizations such as Google Ventures are among the backers of Andela. It is a startup focussing on training and deploying software developers.
Andela has offices in Lagos and Nairobi and it is the process of expanding to more locations in Africa. Though Andela is on a noble mission, it only accepts a small number of applications from prospects. So far, out of more than 40,000 applications, Andela has only accepted 0.7%. That means that Nigeria needs more programs such as Andela to take advantage of economic benefits that come through technology if the country is to diversify its economy away from overdependence on oil revenue.
But fostering technological innovation relies heavily on the funding the government is willing to give to the sector. Perhaps it should dawn on Nigerian economic policymakers that technology is important. Especially, in global economic growth that a country can only ignore it at its own peril. It is no wonder that in Africa Union’s Agenda 2063, innovation features as a major theme of economic transformation in Africa.
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