Africa Industrialization Day 2022: Africa's Industrialization Dream Will Remain A Mirage Except We Do This One Thing Right - EDU-BIZNEWS


Saturday, November 19, 2022

Africa Industrialization Day 2022: Africa's Industrialization Dream Will Remain A Mirage Except We Do This One Thing Right

By Olufemi Orunsola , A Pragmatic Polytechnic Lecturer

The United Nations has set every 20th day of November apart as Africa Day of Industrialization to focus global development searchlight on issues and policies bordering on industrialization of Africa as a continent. 

A snap review of human history shows that technological revolutions have swept through human history since the era of Financial Agricultural revolution (1600-1740), Industrial Revolution (1780-1840), the Technical Revolution (1870-1920), the Scientific Technical Revolution (1940-1970), and the Information and Telecommunications revolution (1975-2020). 

However, the next most recent revolution in the annals of human history is the Internet of Things (IoT) Revolution combined with Fifth Generation (5G) Technology now poised to massively transform the modern world and the future of industrialization as we know it today. In essence, Africa cannot afford to miss out on the continent’s golden opportunity to take its rightful place in the global development front via strategic positioning of her economic ecology in the new wave of advancement driven by compliance with the Internet of Things(IOT) revolution.

The world today is not just talking about industrialization but the digitalization of industrialization! Woe betide Africa if in this age and crucial times, all we still focus and on is mere industrialization of the continent because unfolding events around the world since the outbreak of the novel corona virus in late 2019 have clearly pointed global attention to the fact that the stage is really set for humans to deploy more of internet of Things to get things done. The world has moved on and farther away from the initial industrial revolution age. 

That is the simplest way to explain the predominance and sine qua non nature of the Internet of Things Revolution. Using the words of Ken Ashton, the man credited with the coinage of the Internet of Things; 

“The IoT integrates the interconnectedness of human culture –our things – with the interconnectedness of our digital information system the internet”. IoT was initially domesticated in the business and manufacturing industries in the form of machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, where RFID sensors were attached to expensive equipment to track their location. 

But today, the cost of adding sensors to virtually all objects have reduced so dramatically, making it possible to connect virtually anything and indeed, everything to the internet!

According to Tech experts, there are already more things connected to the internet than people in the world. Tech analyst company IDC expressly predicts that no fewer than 41.6 billion IoT devices will be connected to the internet by the year 2025.  Internet of Things (IoT) has indeed become an integral part of the Tech World’s everyday vernacular. 

Broadly speaking, it describes the concept of an interconnected network of physical objects, including machines, wearable devices, robotics, drones, artificial intelligence, automobiles and a plethora of other types of tech devices to deliver new levels of efficiency, convenience, accuracy and safety all around our world- in our homes, offices, cities and across industries. 

Indeed, many pro-African scholars, thinkers, writers and leaders of thought among whom Walter Rodney author of the book How Europe Under Developed Africa stands out have rightly captured the damaging influence of slave trade, colonialism, neo-colonialism and imperialism on the development of Africa. 

The bitter truth and pill that current generation of Africans and African leaders have to swallow remains that more than ever before, the continent has to take responsibility for her plight and position in the global scheme of things via strategic exploration and exploitation of the unique, history re-writing promises and potentials the Internet of Things(IOT) revolution holds for the continent. 

Africa has been affirmed by many studies and research sources on the demographics of Africa, to not only possess a population that is predominantly youth based given the fact that 70% of Africans are youth of the productive age bracket, but the youth population in question also bears an explosive figure of technologically savvy and Internet of Things(IOT) compliant youths who sadly, are mostly left unharnessed by the continent’s rudderless leadership! 

The bad news for Africa today is that a great chunk of her robust young human capital capable of driving Africa’s front leap into the future are leaving the continent in droves in search of greener pastures and conducive environments where their potentials and capabilities will be readily aided, given expression and given the supportive wings to fly. 

In Nigeria, Africa’s second most populous country, people refer to this massive human capital exodus as the ‘Jappa’ syndrome.John Wesley the popular Methodist preacher once said: An error in principle will occasion an error in practice’’.

 If leaders of African countries fail to adjust the overall guiding leadership principle and philosophy that forms a common thread through the fabrics of the socio-economic life of the continent, her dream of industrialization will remain a mirage in the heat of the day. 

Africa needs to take responsibility for its disheartening leadership deficit that has failed to optimize the potentials of the continent over the years.  

Enough of playing to the gallery and playing the blame game of pointing accusing fingers at the so-called wild west for the woes of Africa all the time. Fine, the continent has her past and history. So does everyone! The question is, should we continue to live under the shadows of our deprived and damaged past? 

No successful person does that!The prioritization, institution, guided implementation and proper funding of a new system of education that is global in scope, local in context and functional by nature is the key with which Africa can unlock and unleash the true digitalized industrialization potentials of her teeming population of productive youths who have continued to prove their mettles around the world of digital technology contrary to the stereotypic notion that African youths are majorly internet fraudsters and evil geniuses skilled with the ability to perpetuate record-breaking financial crimes.

Africa’s strength in today’s digitalized industrial order lies in her population of extremely skillful youthful folks. 

Leaders of African countries must therefore urgently respond to the global stimuli of digitalized industrial revolution which covers the following core areas: Artificial Intelligence (Machine Learning), Robotics, Drone Technology, Augmented and Virtual Reality, Advanced Biometrics (AB) and the fiscal driver of them all; the Block Chain Technology by striving to create the conducive ambience for African youths to learn, relearn and unlearn all that they can in the today’s world governed by the predominance of Internet of Things(IOT) revolution.Fortunately, if Africa gets her leadership quadrant right at this auspicious time in the threshold of human history, virtually all the other monstrous problems bedeviling the continent such as huge youth unemployment, what one of Nigeria’s frustrated university graduate recently called ‘‘imbecile poverty’’, insecurity, food insecurity and a host of others, can be rightly tamed and controlled via the proper deployment of Internet of Things(IOT) revolution variables such as Drone Technology use in modern farming, use of Artificial Intelligence, Advanced Biometrics and GPRS algorithms in Policing and Military defense, creation and promotion of massive employment for youths in the mainstream Tech sector and its corollary industries.  

Needless to say that Africa’s leadership deficit can be ultimately readjusted back to global best standards if Internet of Things variables like Advanced Biometrics is properly deployed to the democratic processes of elections hitherto infested with the maggots of election fraud, political thuggery, ballot box snatching and open rape of democracy by political office seekers.  

Olufemi Orunsola, a Development Communication(DEVCOM) expert and an international author writes from Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria. 

He is the Coordinator, Training, Extension Services & Consultancy at Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Centre for Entrepreneurship Development(MAPCED), Ogun State, Nigeria. 

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