For the sake of our future and our young people, Urhobo leaders in all sectors need to put heads together and set up a Technology (tech) Hub in Urhobo land.
The first to third industrial revolutions have pretty much passed us by. Nigeria is still very much a developing nation still struggling to industrialise and harness the best of the industrial achievements from across the world. From basic infrastructure to more technological innovations, we continue to play catch-up and the Urhobo nation is yet further behind, despite being a significant contribution to wealth and innovation elsewhere. Our raw materials such as Oil and gas have fuelled developments in nations who have sought to exploit our natural resources whilst we have found little or no use for them. Our failure to build our understanding, take a collective approach to the protection and exploitation of our natural resources has contributed vastly to the state of underdevelopment we find ourselves in.
Perhaps the fourth industrial revolution offers a different kind of opportunity for the Urhobo nation to accelerate development. This is the first industrial revolution that is accessible to all and has the potential to level the playing field significantly. You may be asking why; the simple reason is that this revolution is about CONNECTEDNESS; it is about technology and it is happening on the internet, with Apps and it is in the clouds. In essence, the 4th industrial revolution is significantly more accessible than previous revolutions.
Urhobo cannot afford to sit on its hands as the world moves forward yet again. On this occasion, we can actually do something to build prosperity, growth, longevity, innovation and sustainable economic expansion. Many communities across the world are building their knowledgebase of this industrial revolution, convening their best and brightest to understand what opportunities it offers and plotting the right steps to secure their interest. Urhobo should do the same and the best place to start is to begin to think about establishing a tech hub in Urhobo land.
Why Tech Hub
Tech hubs are spaces or region where a good number of individuals who want to start a tech company or start-up companies cluster together and become part of the economic infrastructure of the community. Tech hubs create an environment specifically targeted at helping young technology companies thrive by providing know-how information, training and support, encouraging experimentation, fostering networking and collaboration, and a focal point for government innervations, engagement of international partners and corporates, and venture capital involvement. These are places where ideas flourish and where innovation and creativity are translated into tangible results.
Across the world, whilst there are many contributory factors to economic advancement, one element that stands out time and time again is the emergence of a collaborative spaces such as tech hubs, just look at the top cities in the world today, you will find that tech plays a central role in their economic life.
Urhobo young people have all the talent to function and thrive in these sorts of environments; and a place like an Urhobo tech hub will be a place where we can accelerate their progress. A Tech hub is where things happen faster, where ideas multiply and product development can be streamlined.
How do we start?
This whole idea of a tech hub may sound a bit idealistic and out of reach, but there are currently over 80 tech hubs in Nigeria, most of them in Lagos. These have already demonstrated their importance and have generated many home-grown Start-Ups such as Kobo360, PiggyVest, Paystack, IrokoTV. These tech companies and others are attracting millions of dollars in venture capital investment year on year. We can bring this success to Urhobo land; the models are there for us to replicate and adapt. We can bring together, our academic institutions, political and community leaders, young people and civil society to begin the conversation.
With a collective will and a strong vision, we can put the structures in place that will lay the foundations for Urhobo advancement.