Friday, February 29, 2020 / 03.00PM / Ottoabasi Abasiekong for WebTV / Header Image Credit: @LBSNigeria
An enabling policy environment is critical to a thriving and robust technology sector in Nigeria. Professor Olayinka David-West, the Director, Academic Studies of the Pan-Atlantic University, disclosed this as a Guest speaker at the 11th Inaugural lecture of the University in Lagos.
Speaking on the topic "If I Build It, Will They Come," the scholar believed that adequate policies would provide the guidelines and structures for a secure and resilient digital country, stimulating innovation, investment and job creation.
"Despite the technological opportunities and talent in Nigeria, our ability to leapfrog will require the right complement of digital infrastructure and policies," She said.
Giving further insight into local challenges, she emphasized the need for research and advocacy concerning the right policies and regulatory practices need to stimulate technological innovation that would improve the business environment and lift living standards.
Professor David-West said, "Technology investors don't want to lose their capital. In commercial ventures, it is about higher valuations and building unicorns. In the social space, it is about the impact".
The Professor of Information Systems called for technology transformation in Nigeria that is supported by an enabling environment and policies that create, promote and support sustainable national digital transformation.
She tasked technology ventures that building business solutions or infrastructure technology to understand that the product is not a business, but rather serves as catalysts for the business that can continue to maintain and develop solutions, while also distributing and capturing new markets.
To strengthen the digital economy, she advocated for copyrights and licenses, which will serve as protection for technology builders.
"Digital technologies, their adoption and utilization for impact requires structured processes and practices, which albeit painstaking, are the missing middle to my question, "If I build it, will they come?" She added.
In the area of financial inclusion, she described it as a socio-economic phenomenon with impacts beyond the financial services industry. She emphasized the need to leverage resources and optimize financial inclusion interventions that can drive economic growth.
"The financial services industry has broken boundaries through technology innovations. While we are all cognizant of the industry imperfections, we need to celebrate the small wins like instant payments and account number validation, which more advanced markets are yet to deploy," Prof. David-West said.