This Tech Manifesto Can Transform Nigeria To A 1st World Country
Beyond complaining about the status quo in Nigeria, have you ever tried working out a solution to any of the challenges in this West African Nation?
The Founder/Chief Executive Officer of hotels.ng, Mark Essien has done that.
Essien is a believer in the power of technology. Having built a successful company through tech, he believes it can be explored to transform Nigeria from a poor third-world nation to a thriving first world country.
So, instead of complaining, he put pen to paper and detailed how would solve problems using technology.
Below are the 6 pillars of his technology manifesto.
Pillar 1. Free Internet For All
Internet connections come at several levels, and Essien believes it ought to be free, at the basic level.
To ensure that it works commercially, the government needs to convince the telcos to provide free 2G access to everyone, while faster access remains paid.Also Read: 4 Nigerian Tech Startups To Watch In 2018
To make it possible that those who need fast internet at low cost can receive it, the Government will also need to provide vouchers for free, fast internet.
Pillar 2: Low Cost Power Through Renewable Sources
Many people argue that Nigerian would probably remain a decrepit third-world country until it achieves energy sufficiency and is able to keep the bulbs on all year round.
“Without electrical power, technology will not develop in the state. Most technology is concentrated in laptops and mobile phones?—?and these are low powered devices that typically consume less than 30watts. What we need to do then is to provide Solar panels and Solar Controllers with 200watts to as many people who need it,” Essien wrote in his manifesto.
According to him, “The Government will bulk purchase a huge number of these panels, together with solar controllers that provide direct output appropriate to charge phones and laptops, and then resell them (at a profit) in the state at a low cost to indigenes.
Competitors will be held responsible to make sure every serious science and engineering student receives at least one of the panels for free.
Pillar 3: Bring Government Expenses Online
If Nigeria is serious about tackling corruption headlong, technology can be the most powerful tool it needs.
According to Essien’s manifesto, the first step towards transparency in governance would be to bring all Government expenditure online.
In this way, “Citizens would have the ability to comment on every expense and highlight transactions they believe are dubious.
Pillar 4: Free Online Education From Basic Level
For a country like Nigeria to be competitive globally, its education needs to be among the best in the world.
But how can this be? According to Mr. Essien’s manifesto, the government should build an online central learning centre that includes all public textbooks, available and downloadable for free.
Video tutorials about all exam topics will be constantly created and uploaded to this website, allowing everyone to learn at their pace.
The Telcos will make downloads from this portal free as forms of Corporate Social Responsibility.
Pillar 5: Let Successful Tech Companies Decide Which Tech Startups Get Funding
“A lot of tech companies need financing, but it is very difficult to know which tech companies are working on a good idea, and which ones are going to fail. To solve that, we will let the industry decide what the companies to fund are,” wrote Essien.
And this is how he believes this would work. An amount of capital will be set aside for funding of tech companies.
An initial set of companies will select 5 companies monthly to extend loan facilities to.
The new companies then get added to the group that selects for the next months. This way the industry selects the companies that they believe in.
Pillar 6: Creation Of Public Innovation & Science Centres
Technology is innovation - that means that ground-breaking and new technologies have to be developed.
To achieve this, the state will create two new centers - a science innovation center and a technology innovation center.
These centers will provide facilities for the private sector to use to attempt scientific or technology breakthroughs. In addition to that, depending on what is the cutting edge, challenges in innovation would be placed by the Government with a prize available on achieving them.
“For example, now in 2018, we should place a challenge about who can build battery powered mini-trains for inter-state transport, with such trains being solar powered.
“As technology changes and matures, the annual challenges will change.
“The challenge will be such that it can immediately go into commercial use?—?if for example a new type of transport is created to replace the tricycle, aka Keke, the Government will promise to mandate its usage within the state.
“This instantly creates a captive market for the invention and allows capital to flow back to it to allow for improvements,” Essien wrote.
What do you think? Do you think this is realistic? Let’s hear from you. You can write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also Watch: How Start Ups Can Break Into The Nigerian Market