If you are fighting against something, you have to understand what you are fighting against. This is the only truth about Nigerian politics and governance. Everything that happens to us is decided in rooms where only a few people can enter in organizations with a few members.
My uncle used to always say that you become part of that group when you have economic clout. It is very true. The thing is that economic clout comes in different variants. Being a gatekeeper can also be some form of economic clout. It is why gatekeepers are bastions of corruption
Those gatekeepers can become literal keepers of the the gate. Those who allow you to pass or not pass roads. Those who decide if markets function or die. Those who determine the right of way for telecommunications cables etc. The trick is to find new paths to prosperity.
Digital is now the new path with a new generation of Nigerians and it is now confusing for the old guard. Make no mistake, they still control the paths to market access and scale. They don't need any social media bill or CBN account freezing. They can cripple access to services.
Building a telco from scratch made me realize how much land meant to scale. When I looked at all the locations mapped for cell sites in urban areas, they were not owned by any poor man. Transmission links between cities decided by government. Licenses approved by government.
If they want to cripple digital, telcos and others with dependence on physical infrastructure have no choice but to comply. It is even worse now as most of the infrastructure is outsourced and shared. Who owns those companies that control most of the infrastructure? Allegiances?
The problem with cost savings and centralization of infrastructure management by telco may become the greatest risk and source of control. The key to true freedom is a new paradigm for digital. It has to be decentralized not just in the software layer but in physical access.
When we talk about local technology, it should truly be future thinking and disruptive. Copying what others have done and not reading the risks to being cornered in your country is not disruption. Decentralization of access will become the true disruption and catalyst for markets
This is why technology like 5G and others are important. The cells are much closer and existing infrastructure will be made obsolete long term. What is the nonconsumption for 5G and what alternate infrastructure can be built? If we don't think about it, the Chinese will do so.
In my heart, I believe the answer will be in solar devices and mesh networks. Watch those in this space closely.
Even telcos can be disrupted. They know it too well. WhatsApp was a warning. The next frontier is infrastructure. Everything @elonmusk does is linked. Solar, renewables and infrastructure. It is time to find our own Elon Musk.
With a Biden win, the era of renewables has come. Africa shouldn't be left behind.
You can follow @asemota.
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