Digital Literacy and Lethargy Hampering our Productive Best
Africa is going digital; Nigeria being one of the largest countries is at the forefront of this positive shift. Some of the dividends of ‘digitalism’ are not far-fetched – innovations, technology entrepreneurship, e-governance, wealth and job creation. It is common knowledge that Nigeria isn’t leaving up to her digital potentials due to certain myriads of challenges ranging from poor access and quality of service, to affordability of internet data and smart devices, to short-fall in local content and then digital literary and lethargy whereas digitally successful countries have overcome.
Digital literary and lethargy among the problems aforementioned, is one that stands out not requiring absolute government and telecommunication companies’ control but other stakeholder approach. Basic literacy, simple knowledge of what the internet can do and the willingness to use it against the odds usually goes a long way in holding back internet adoption and use.
With an approximate figure of up to 50% of Nigerians who are yet to and may never use the internet or at best use it passively out of compulsion largely due to illiteracy and lack of understanding of the capabilities of the internet. A huge percentage of these are predominantly adults (over 50 years) including women who live in rural areas. Last year (2015), the NBS says the ICT sector delivered 11.93% to the GDP; consequently, we are yet to reach our productive best.
Key actions that can wrestle digital literacy and lethargy to its knees include concerned individuals, non-profits and corporate organizations rising up to the occasion through the creation of grassroots digital enlightenment programs and initiatives covering smart device and computer usage as well as personal and organisational benefits of internet usage.
This singular action across board will instantly spark a soaring in internet start-up patronage in Nigeria- the popular ones being in the e-commerce and delivery (Konga, Yudala, ACE), mobile money (Paga), and information portal categories (Hotelng, jobberman). Other primary benefits of digital literacy and internet usage are increase in email communication as against widespread verbal and paper communication; also, fact finding and research-focused education as against rumour-centred education. Furthermore, the now digitally literate and internet savvy can create and view documents on mobile, engage stakeholders on social media and access live news feeds, among others.
Great initiatives like that of internet.org where certain websites are been made accessible free of charge, as well as smart devices getting smarter will become more noteworthy as soon as digital awareness peaks. However, the desired collective productive best of swift quantitative and qualitative work is for our common good and therefore it is the common responsibility of all.