Africans Need To Open Up To Technology
Too many times I see people in 21st century African societies clinging to old ways of doing things – almost as if scared of the new and sometimes radically different ALTERNATIVE ways now made possible by advancements in technology.
A perfect example of this is readily seen in the prevailing attitude towards the use of PC/Internet technology. I have travelled to a number of African states and cities in my own country, Nigeria. The problem persists: People have a seeming aversion for putting these powerful and cost-effective tools to productive use.
Don’t get me wrong. We are using these tools. BUT it is what we use them for most times, that I quarrel with. Forget the 419 Yahoo! mail scam artists. Theirs is a fallout of THIS. Information Technology is for a THINKING society’s use in creating and developing value adding resources that benefit others. What I see is that many of us just love to purchase, own and SHOW OFF our IT tools, instead of exploiting them to move to the next level.
Large majorities of our people remain in awe of Internet technology, rather than seeing it as the greatest leveler of all times, that TODAY makes it possible for any willing person from any part of the world to exert a felt impact on people and places worldwide, without physically getting there!
Why Don’t Our Schools Use PC/Internet Technology Well?
Why for instance is it that we do not have a proliferation of educational institutions using the Internet to cheaply pass on knowledge to their learners in a way that will allow the latter to pay LESS tuition – if at all any?
No, I do not accept that what schools and some universities are currently doing by having computer centers equates to what I am describing here. What I am after is the ACTIVE use of the PC and Internet technology as a means of more effectively delivering knowledge to learners within and beyond the local environment.
THAT is NOT happening in our institutions currently. Yes, they conduct computer and Internet appreciation classes, BUT that’s where it ends. There is little or no effort put into using these tools to CREATE and INNOVATE. That’s why our educational institutions cannot boast of having website (if they have a web site that is!) visitors that come regularly to browse and download useful learning materials developed by their OWN teachers/pupils or lecturers/students.
Many times it is the members of OUR institutions that go online to websites of OTHER institutions in developed societies to search for and download information about our own societies! Even if they were to be patriotic and tried to find web sites run by Africans living in Africa, their chances of finding the exact (and up to date) information they want would be slim.
Africans In Diaspora Use The Internet Better – & MORE
Frequently, when we do have Africans maintaining reasonably up to date web sites, a little checking soon reveals the site is run by Africans based in developed societies. Yet, the truth is that it is NOT that our local environment makes it difficult to use PC/Internet technology this way. My personal experiences confirm this.
It is simply a matter of some kind of mental “barrier” or limit we have imposed on ourselves and which needs to be broken through by each of us if we are to stand any chance at all of taking advantage of these tools to improve the lives of our people.
SOME EXCEPTIONS: By the way, there are exceptions to this general problem in Africa that I complain about here. If you try visiting web sites maintained by universities in African countries like South Africa, Egypt, and a few others, you will almost think they are not based here.
ANY Individual Can Use The Internet Profitably
As a self-employed person in a society where the sales/marketing costs can be quite high and erratic, I have successfully established and maintained a considerably high profile web presence in line with my business vision.
My email subscriber database has grown as more people request some free offers provided in my articles. Note that they do this of their own free will and that suggests they not only found my article interesting enough to be useful, but they were also impressed enough to go one step further to request copies of additional information that I offered in the body of my writings.
If I can do the foregoing, with the limited resources I have, then ANY African individual or organisation can achieve similar, if not better, results.
It Actually Costs VERY VERY Little To Maintain A Web site
And to think that it can cost less than $50 naira equivalent to pay for domain name registration and hosting for a simple site. Add to this the fact that various web site design tools now allow even a novice build and maintain a decent web site presence. One wonders then what many of us are waiting for?