By Stephen Afolabi:
If there is anything that differentiates 20th century and this present 21st century from the previous period in the existence of human race, then that thing is tech inventions and advancements. However, when we think about Africa, it`s obvious that Africa is a “consumer” and never (or rarely) an inventor of technology.
Why Is This So?
I would be talking about five of the potent reasons why Africa lag behind in the advancement of technology and entrepreneurship.
Witchcraft? Yeah! You heard me correctly. Africans spiritualize technological inventions and money making.
To an average African, everything has a spiritual power behind it, either for good or for bad. Till this present moment, so many Africans still believe that technological inventions like Air Plane, smartphone, television were invented by some people with certain spiritual powers. To an average African, you can only become rich if God (magically) makes you rich.
When you do not know the mathematical truth about how 7+7=14, you`re likely to think there is a magic somewhere, thus preventing yourself from performing other mathematical calculations. For Africans to start having their names on inventions and in other great achievements, we have to stop seeing inventions and success as a spiritual or a magical achievement, instead, as an achievement of men using God`s given wisdom.
4. Risk Factor
Africans avoid risk like snake. Technology is very sweet to use because it makes our lives quite easier. Everybody loves to have money (and so much of it). But these two things are very hard to achieve.
There are thousands of days inventors are “wasting” at the back side of the world where nobody sees them or appreciate their sweat. There so many trials and mistakes business people are making before they get to the lime light.
There are too many pains in the secrets and yet, some of the efforts of the inventors and entrepreneurs never succeeded. An average African is not raised to live his life pursuing “the wind”. He only thinks about certainty and when it`s not certain, he doesn`t go in.
For Africans to have their names on some future inventions and business successes, we have to start daring, start pursuing and start taking risk.
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3. Literacy Rate
Africans are not educated to be creative. Invention has a lot to do with creativity, with trying something new, with seeing something not presently available, so is entrepreneurship. Most Africans are not trained to “stress” themselves that much.
The so call education we all get is that one our formal school gives. Only few Africans ever go beyond that.
Unfortunately, school rarely teach us to be creative. For more Africans to be inventors and successful business owners, we have to have more people who take the pain to be educated from other sources other than school. Basically, reading culture has to be encouraged.
2. Misplaced Priorities
Africans don`t see invention as opportunities for wealth. Invention is a source of wealth and development. Africans are happy consuming technologies while inventing them will make us better. Apart from invention being business opportunity, it`s a way of boosting our image among the other countries of the world.
1. Time Mismanagement
Africans waste too much time using technologies. I remember reading a comment about Bill Gates that goes like, “while every of his mate was playing games, he was busy creating games”.
The point is this, you cannot spend too many hours per week enjoying technologies and at the same time be an inventor of technology. You cannot spend too many hours every week discussing, arguing about or consuming the products of other businesses and become a successful entrepreneur. You need time to create and so much time, I mean. What happens over here in Africa is, we love to see new things and use them. it`s not unusual to see our youths wasting 10-12 hours on their smartphones every day.
It is not unusual to see them wasting another 4-6 hours on PlayStation. Technological inventions take time and commitment. Until we waste less time on consuming and spend more time creating, we cannot have our names on any future invention.
These are some of the reason why Africa is yet to find a foot in the global technology ecosystem. At least, this is what I think, what do you think?