Fantastically fighting corruption in Africa
The recent remarks by David Cameron have fortunately inspired Nigerians and Africans at large to speak up on the issue of corruption in this great continent. A continent that is finally finding her bearing by channelling the abundance of natural and human resources towards a sustainable development. Till date, the impact of corruption on African development has been enormous, with issues like capital flight, embezzlement by corrupt leaders, tax evasion and unregulated plunder of resources frequently being swept under the carpet. One question that plagues the minds of many is: “Could any of this have been done without help from outside the continent?” While you ponder on the answer, the purpose of this post is to explore what the future holds in terms of achieving change and development in Africa.
How can innovation & technology help to foster development in Africa?
I have been fortunate enough to interact with thought leaders in innovation, technology and business over the last 9 months, as a postgraduate at the Imperial College Business School. This exposure has enabled me to realise the potential of technology in resolving a vast majority of problems affecting my motherland. Africa will be great and I will play a role in her future, I keep saying to myself. This has been the basis of my constant search for avenues to make a lasting impact. However, this article is not about me, it’s about what the future holds for technology in Africa. Can the potential be fully harnessed? What steps are necessary? How can we all play our part? Who are the stakeholders?
Without much elaboration, the following achievements have been championed by technology in Africa. These success stories emphasise the need to continuously explore potential avenues for harnessing all innovation has to offer to Africa. Starting from a political point of view, a major innovation in Africa has been the transition to democracy from authoritarian leadership. The impact of electronic voting systems in recent elections in Africa reveal the demand for solutions that enable transparency. Despite mixed reactions regarding whether or not democracy is ideal for Africa, there is a need to incrementally innovate democracy to achieve a better fit for Africa’s stewardship needs. Secondly, the adoption of mobile technology has fuelled growth and established multiple new frontiers, reducing the impact of the shortcomings associated with power generation and distribution. This achievement in itself laid out the platform for the diffusion of service innovations like M-PESA, mobile banking and several on-demand services that have transformed the way transactions are carried out on the continent. However, it is not safe to conclude that Africa is ready for the full brunt of digital disruption.
Bridging Africa’s infrastructure gap and avoiding the technology imperative
Amidst the struggles on the continent to catch up in the development race, being a few steps behind actually provides an opportunity to search for avenues to leapfrog onto greater achievements by avoiding the mistakes made on other continents. This in itself presents a motif to channel thoughts towards a need-based approach to development. In addition, decolonising the African academies should bear as much weight as strategically aligning infrastructural development to the continent’s needs. Africa needs to prepare for the impact technology will have on jobs by ensuring the next generation get the right education. Innovation and technology can be double-edged swords, improving efficiency but increasing costs and pushing people out of jobs as their roles become obsolete. Careful thought must be put into averting the effects of the technology imperative.
Imperial College Business School’s Africa Business Club will champion innovation in Africa
Imperial College Business School stands amongst competitors for her strong innovation and technology focus. At the Africa Business Club, the mission is to create a platform for dialogue on how the future of innovation in Africa can be managed to ensure we harness the continent’s potential while managing the perceptions people have about Africa in general. With an exciting launch event scheduled for the 16th of July, we implore individuals who are passionate about Africa to come and interact with others as we discuss solutions to problems faced by the continent. We will engage key stakeholders in panel discussions about access to data for planning, transparency, frugal innovation and technology adoption.
Debo is studying our MSc International Health Management programme.