The Role of Technology and Innovation in Africa’s Development. By Agbelade Oluwole Julius

INTRODUCTION
Innovation and technology co-exist as an inextricable and potent means of attaining societal, national and continental development as the conjunctive relationship between these factors aid the swift growth and development in areas where they are highly prioritised.
Albert Einstein reaffirmed the momentousness attributed to Innovation when he said; A vivid requisite of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.
Technological advancement, on the other hand, has revamped human life and existence as its tentacles are felt on every sphere of life, such as; education, agriculture, medicine (e.t.c).
Without gain saying, the need for innovation and technological advancement in Africa cannot be over emphasised. It is on this back drop that this essay lays on itself the burden of analysing in simple concept, technology and innovation, it further seeks to provide an exposition into its impact and climax with feasible recommendations

TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION; The way forward
The realism that innovation and technology can serve as a useful servant stands as an uncontroversial fact.
Technology subsumes the conjunctive application of skills, methods and processes used in the production of goods and services. Relevantly, technology entails the entities, both substantial and insubstantial, created by the application of mental and physical effort to achieve some value.
It is not new knowledge that innovation births technology, this position was re-echoed by Gabriel Tarde, the inventor of the S-shaped diffusion curve.

IMPACT OF INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY; Asia as a case study
Asian countries like China, Japan and India are countries that can be attributed to revolutionary technological advancement and innovation resulting in their acceptance as technology innovation powerhouses. This has added to both their standard of living and economic growth.
Decades ago, China had the largest borrowing spree in the world and was recognized as a country where poverty and starvation had taken its course, anchored by Internet tycoons like Alibaba and Tencent, digital economy remedied hardship and replaced older industries like steel and aluminium industries, a total of over 3 trillion dollars was accrued from the digital economy.

THE NEED FOR INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY IN AFRICA
In a detailed publication by the African Development Bank, it was established that technological advancement stands as a major constraint to Africa’s development and there is the need to embrace the opportunities that technology and innovation offer to both societal and continental development. This begs the question; how can innovation and technology accelerate growth in Africa?
Technology and innovation plays a crucial role in economic growth, Robert Solow in 1995 opined that the rudiments of growth include; labour and technology. Consequently, productivity in so many developed countries has increased drastically, including those in Africa as a result of improved organisation skills, science, technology and innovation in the production of commodities.
In contrast to studies that have shown that- technological advancement would result in a decrease in employment opportunities, this piece emphasises on the truism that technological advancement has also created diverse opportunities- as a reduction in the cost of living would increase the demand for commodities, resulting in a larger market.
One of the areas where technology stands out is its effect on the health sector, modern electronic equipment have been discovered, they have the capacity to improve the standard of treatment received by individuals in diverse health facilities. The result of this is a decrease in mortality rate. Also, the existence if sophisticated technology has enabled doctors to be able to detect ailments that are life threatening in their early stage.
The corporate world which serves as a major catalyst to the increment of a country’s G.D.P cannot undermine the impact of innovation. The swift flow and transfer of commodities from areas where they are produced to areas where they are needed is highly encouraged by the existence and impact of technology, this translates to the ability to serve more customers and business growth. Technology innovation also aids the capacity to store and disseminate information on a large scale.
Business expansion is also encouraged- the use of new age technological inventions would result in a decrease in cost of production thereby accelerating growth in that enterprise.
Technology and innovation incites educational system testing via the use of iPad, Laptop (e.t.c). The emergence of Coronavirus would have been a big blow on our educational system, as a result of the existence of technological gadgets and virtual platforms like zoom, iclass (e.t.c) virtual tutoring is a reality.
Technological innovation fosters national security via electronic surveillance gadgets
The conjunctive application of both technology and innovation aids the nation’s economy; a reduction in cost of production and advanced means of communication fosters economic growth. Following the growth principle as established in neo-classical theory, technological advancement amplifies the per capita income of persons and encourages investment which causes a drastic increase in Gross Domestic Product ( G.D.P)

RECOMMENDATION

  1. “Innovation cannot be legislated; Innovation takes deliberate actions, enablers, incentives and entrepreneurship to form it happen”, aforementioned Eugene Owusu, the UNDP Resident Representative for African country. The primary means forward to having a technological dominated setting is to be intentional regarding it via policies enacted with the first purpose of encouraging innovations DNA technological advancement.
  2. African countries should endeavour to create healthy competition in the private sector for innovation.
  3. African countries should encourage collaboration between the public and private sector when it comes to addressing technological issues and aiding innovation amidst these countries.

CONCLUSION
Diverse economic issues continue to emerge and so many countries are combatting these issues technologically and via the lucid lens of innovation. African countries should endeavour to not stand idle and encourage innovation and technological application as it would aid swift economic growth and development in Africa.

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