African politics has always been characterized with pseudo promises. Adopting democracy accords the citizens of a state necessary relevance and power to hold elected officials accountable for failed promises. In navigating the affairs that strengthens Africa’s grip on the global tech pie, politics must offer more. This goes beyond exploration of national resources, salaries and provision of basic amenities.
Concerned tech savvy Africans would expect that tech policies that bolsters the chances of succeeding in the tech space increases. Salaries are important, but they are not sustainable in a tech oriented world. Electoral promises can’t be based expected obligations of politicians.
Africa has clamored for peaceful, free and fair elections, including smooth transitions of power. Social movements have begged for the improvement of governance. However, despite the massive amount spent to share these promises through campaigns, the region’s challenges remain immense. Elections after elections, it still appears like Africans are on their own as they strive towards the global tech trend.
11/ You have chosen to vote for change and we promise you that we will not be disappointed. We know that your hopes are high: a country…
— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) April 1, 2015
According to Catherine Kyenret Angai Part of the reason for this is a failure of presidents to deliver on their campaign promises. Key among those promises are the development initiatives candidates say they will advance once elected. For instance, Senegalese President Macky Sall’s pledge to reduce the prices of basic goods such as rice, by 50%. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to creating three million jobs in a year.
While most African countries continue to grapple with rising unemployment, worsening poverty and stagflation, the political or ruling class seem uninterested in something that could provide the needed solution. Like the case in Nigeria and Senegal, politicians habitually make promises without a clear strategy for how to achieve them.
Campaigning for Tech Development
2022 and 2023 will see a host of African countries head to the polls for different elections. They will have a number of candidates to chose from. However, as they consider who have the votes, they should consider these:
- In 2021, The World Bank assured South Africa that a vibrant tech sector could help close the self-employment gap. However, the group noted that for the country’s entrepreneurship ecosystem to reach its potential, it must relax legal constraints and rules that prevent the development of tech startups, and scaling up programs. This will provide entrepreneurial training and startup grants to address other barriers to entry.
- In Taobao Villages of China, there are hubs that house at least 100 businesses involved in e-commerce in the same location. In 2009, about three villages had similar numbers. A decade later, more than 4,000 such “villages” exist across China. According to the World Bank, the creation of Taobao Villages has helped decrease urban migrationacross the country and lifted many rural areas out of poverty. It has also enhanced rural infrastructure, increased employment opportunities, and boosted productivity.
- According to Africa Developer Ecosystem Report 2021, 8% of African developers work for at least one company outside the continent. It also reported that the estimated number of developers on the continent increased from 700,000 in 2020 to 716,000 in 2021. This highlights the goodies tech can bring to Africans.
- According to Patricia Duru, the country director of Fuzu Nigeria, HR related technologies might be costly, but their benefits are worth the splurge. An open secret every organization must know – using the right tech in HR positively impacts your employee recruitment, retention, and performance management processes, as well as improves your company systems by boosting operational efficiency and decision-making.
Policies towards technology and innovation would benefit every sector of the economy. Tech progress will encourage more efficient production of goods and effective services. This is what prosperity depends on. Whether the aforementioned leaders had blatantly refused to act on their promises or not, Africans should consider leaders will the proper mindset towards tech development for a sustainable future. The look-out should be on aspirants with understanding of the connection between tech, education institutions, research organizations and business. Not oil exploration and payment of salaries.
So if your preferred candidate doesn’t share in the idea tech development, he’s not what the region needs at this time. Find the necessary leader.