The change is here, not politically but in terms of economic narrative. Countries like Nigeria must understand the need to embrace a change from an oil based economy to technology innovative one. The only permanent thing in life is change. That is a popular saying or do I call it a cliché. We are in a very fast moving world and the ability to catch up matters here. We are always chasing the evolution, failure to do that, will be tantamount to extinction and as it is now, extinction looms. In the labour place, jobs are being loss. It is no more news that big corporations like Oracle, Cisco and other huge corporation globally are laying off workers. I don’t want to use the term “sacking”. The truth must be told, it is not game as it used to be. There is a game changer in town and that is technology and automation. Jobs will be lost and some gained. These aforementioned firms are futuristic and have decided to play in a turf where future players will want to play. They are thinking cloud computing not the hardware nor software. That is proactive move. Big oil majors are thinking renewable energy not fossilized energy.
Nigeria, as a part of the global community isn’t left behind in this rat race. Africa was left behind during the industrial revolution and as it is today, Africa is catching up with the information revolution era. This information technology has disrupted the traditional way of life. Some call them “disruptive technologies” but I tag them usurper. In a one swoop, the price of crude oil plummeted not only crashed. This has seen OPEC countries running Helter skelter trying to salvage what is left of their miserable economies. Countries in the oil producing club are lamenting and “had we known” is the order of the day. Nigeria and Venezuela are a few of the global oil producing countries that failed to invest and give ICT start up and Research and Development a shot.countries like the United Arab Emirates and other oil producing majors within the Caspian sea rim like Czech and Eastern Europe Bloc have “technically” moved on to diversify. I am not even going to talk about the Norse countries.
Many states in Nigeria can not pay salary and will not ever be able to pay salaries unless they start investing in capacity building. The power of technology can be so disruptive that economies can crash overnight. USA brought faction that gave the world shale, this singular technology moves have brought countries like Nigeria and Venezuela on their knees.. Nigeria has not developed a comparative advantage in oil and gas, the country is import dependent on basic oil refining which works under the principle of fractional distillation. So, I don’t think that Nigeria can compete here.
As a country, the drop in oil price has affected us negatively, but it is not the end. Technology and oil price drop have seen the citizen losing jobs. Looking inward, encouraging enterprise, R& D and protectionism is the only escape route for Nigeria and Africa. The time for Africa to look inward and jettison the Bretton woods economist is now. This is the time African heads should come together and encourage bilateral relationship between member states. Failure to adhere by these hard routes, will see Africa being left behind in this information race.
Anthony Emeka Nwosu