Home Tech News #TTOutlook17 | Local content, key to bring more Nigerians online, GSMA says

#TTOutlook17 | Local content, key to bring more Nigerians online, GSMA says

#TTOutlook17 | Local content, key to bring more Nigerians online, GSMA says
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Wale Gooduck, Head of the GSMA (GSM Association) in Sub-Saharan Africa says that local content is key to taking more Nigerians online.

Goodluck made the observation today while speaking in a panel session that discussed the theme, “Local Content: Unlocking Possibilities for Nigerian ICT Sector at the Technology Times Outlook 2017, #TTOutlook17, which opened today at The Muson Centre, Lagos.

For Nigeria to bring in more people into the Internet space, which is very necessary, content creators must ensure that their contents are something that Nigerians at all levels must relate to in different local languages, the GSMA exec says.

According to him, “today in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa, there are a lot of contents but there are not a lot of relevant contents and for us to begin to scratch the surface people must align with content that is available.”

He told the #TTOutlook17 attendees that, “our content must be content and application that everybody is talking about. It has to resonate with everybody across all demographics and not only for ladies and gentlemen in this room. We form a very small and insignificant part of the total ecosystem and if we can’t bring people in then Nigeria is not going to grow. And if we are not able to pack up everybody then we are going to wake up with a huge army of unconnected, very unhappy, very unaligned population.”

Continuing he says that, “content must cross language barrier. About two three years ago when we talked about WhatsApp, everybody said WhatsApp would never become a disrupter because WhatsApp had a literacy barrier. So people first needed to be able to read and write before using WhatsApp. Today WhatsApp has voice, today WhatsApp has video, so everybody can use WhatsApp for talking, for video and it has become very, very pervasive and it will continue to grow and become more and more pervasive. And the lesson is that if we cannot bring Internet content to our people in our different languages, we are not going to go anywhere. If we cannot bring Internet content that relate to everybody.”

Emphasizing more on the need take to take the Internet to those in the grass root, the GSMA exec says that our contents must not be so complicated to the ordinary people.

Continuing he says that, “content must cross language barrier. About two three years ago when we talked about WhatsApp, everybody said WhatsApp would never become a disrupter because WhatsApp had a literacy barrier. So people first needed to be able to read and write before using WhatsApp. Today WhatsApp has voice, today WhatsApp has video, so everybody can use WhatsApp for talking, for video and it has become very, very pervasive and it will continue to grow and become more and more pervasive. And the lesson is that if we cannot bring Internet content to our people in our different languages, we are not going to go anywhere. If we cannot bring Internet content that relate to everybody.”

 

Wale Gooduck, Head of the GSMA (GSM Association) in Sub-Saharan Africa (left); Yele Okeremi, CEO of PFS and Shina Badaru, Founder, Technology Times, today at the #TTOutlook17 in Lagos
Wale Gooduck, Head of the GSMA (GSM Association) in Sub-Saharan Africa (left); Yele Okeremi, CEO of PFS and Shina Badaru, Founder, Technology Times, today at the #TTOutlook17 in Lagos

“We have Internet content on the Internet all the times but majority of the contents are perhaps too sophisticated educative requirement for a lot of our people. We need to make people understand how the Internet relates to their day-to-day activities. We need to make people understand that if you are driving out of your house in the morning, today you can check Google Maps and see where there is traffic and where there is no traffic. These are simple things that are going to make a difference in the life of everybody who is trying to get online,” he says.

He adds that the only way we are going to cross the content barrier on the Internet is to have the elites take down the message in a more simplified manner to the masses.

“The content must add value. I cannot tell somebody who, let’s say for example a vulcanizer, about Internet without making him understand how the Internet will make his business better. Let’s say the people in this room, our regulators, our legislators, the executive arm of government, that is a task that must be done. It’s a task that needs a lot of funding. It’s a task that requires a lot of hard work. But at the end of the day, if we are able to send this message home so that every Nigerian from whatever sphere of life, whatever you are doing, can see the linkage between the Internet and your bottom line. We need to take the message home. We need to make it relevant and that’s the only way we are going to cross the content barrier.”

Goodluck says further that a lot of businesses in Nigeria today have recognized that their business model today will be, rather than become content distributors, they will become content owners and that content owners will be kings in the near future.

“Ultimately, the owner of content will be king in the market and people who historically had distributed content are going to have to work a lot harder because the telecoms space is about to unbundle the content transmission stage. I will no longer need a decoder to get content in my house. I will no longer need a lot of infrastructure to get content that I want. Unfortunately they are all again coming from offshore but there is opportunity for us here now, locally to develop content, a content that is now more available, more relevant, a content that people want,” Goodluck says at the #TTOutlook17 summit.

The new world we are going into is the one no individual could be excluded from the Internet as that would be too dangerous for the society, according to the GSMA Sub-Saharan head.

In his words, “The world is changing and it is changing much faster than any of us can fathom. The danger of this new world is the danger of exclusion and today a lot of disparity we find in Sub-Saharan Africa and all of over the world is about people complaining of being marginalized, being excluded either from wealth creation, from socio-economic benefits. But if people are going to remain excluded from the new world, then we will have a danger beyond our wildest imagination.”

According to Goodluck, “if you ask me, I think that the world we are going into, it would be too dangerous to have anybody not included in this new world. It would be too dangerous to allow people to remain offline. In every sense of the word danger we have to bring everybody into this new world, into this stake. Anybody who is not in this stake is a potential danger to themselves and to the rest of us from the security perspective, from economic perspective, from the social perspective, from the professional perspective; we need to bring people into this thing.”

He also said that it won’t take long for a great shift to happen where people will start getting paid to come online.

“In fact in a couple of years’ time government and stakeholders will pay people to come online. So today people are paying to come online but in a couple of years’ time, people would be paid to come online. If you look at Africa today and particularly Sub-Saharan Africa, what are the things keeping people from becoming part of this world new order? It is cost, computer literacy and access to availability of services. But we all know that even today with all the infrastructure in place everybody having a device, everybody with a phone, an iPad, with the cost of smart devices coming down we still have a significant problem and this is centered around the content issue.”

In his own submission, Yele Okeremi, CEO of PFS agrees with Goodluck that content owners would be so important sooner than later.

“I think I will take it from where Wale stoped. The content owner is going to become king and I want us to take note of that,” Okeremi says.

He gave a comprehensive account of how hardware and software development evolved in Nigeria from the 80s to the present day to the point that Nigeria is becoming a pioneer in some areas like bank transfers and others.

“By the 90s I recollect a few things happened, we started having what we call local area network at that time which was big thing at that time and some of these things created a great opportunity for people to try to develop applications in Nigeria,” Okeremi says.

“We had some banks come up with few Nigerian banking solution applications. That was few things that happened at that time but basically as time went on they continued improving on the apps. But by the 2000s we began to see a change happen globally particularly the Silicon Valley where people began to develop a lot of things, and it came to Nigeria and we have places like iDea Hub and ccHub”, he adds

He emphasized that a lot of challenges are still facing the industry are quite enormous but they are surmountable and Nigerians can do better in creating a trusted local content that could even be exported out of the country.

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Donatus Anichukwueze Technology Journalist at Technology Times Media Phone No: 08074016066 e-mail: donatus.anichukwueze@technologytimes.ng

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