Technology adoption, collective responsibility for stakeholders

By Zion Rufus

Notable hindrances to harnessing technology in Nigeria have for a long while included accessibility, affordability, lack of infrastructural facilities, and short-term performance expectancy. 

Although most of these factors, and others, have been posited to stem from the challenging economic and political environment in Nigeria, Tobechukwu Okigbo, chief corporate services officer, MTN Nigeria during a breakout session at the Lagos Economic Summit 2022 argued that the responsibility for the failure of tech adoption in Nigeria can be split across individuals, people, business organizations, and the government.

Leading the conversation on the above premise, and how each of the listed components interact with technology and the potential for growth and adoption in those areas, Okigbo pointed that the primary consideration, first, would be the absence of long term and consistent investment in research and development. 

“That is why we tend to be where we are,” Okigbo said.

“Technological advancement and technology adoption are two different ends of the spectrum. From the perspective of tech adoption, there are so many ways to dice and slice it.”


From the perspective of individuals and evaluating potentially what the hinderance would be for people to adopt technology, Okigbo pointed that things like accessibility and affordability are the critical factors

He said: “So if you are talking about technological adoption, one of the easiest ones to measure potentially would be internet access. There is accessibility of the internet, but then there is also the affordability, can people pay per megabyte of what they consume typically or what would be required to do meaningful work with technology.” 

“So those are some of the challenges you would find in that cadet. What governments would do would be to step in either to provide the infrastructure, the support required to help with accessibility, and then create an environment where there is enough competition to enable affordable prices for people.”


According to Okigbo, the challenge that most businesses will face especially in this clime with regards to technology adoption is primarily the constraints of time horizon and obviously return on investment. 

He pointed: “So it’s very easy to say you adopt this technology and pay 5million or 10million dollars your business will quadruple over the next twenty years, but if you think of a practical business in Lagos, you don’t think of a 20-year horizon, you may have a one month horizon, or a six month horizon or even a year; now, technology investments tend to be upfront, so you are saying to a business person who is managing his cash flow that if you want to improve your business you need to make this type of investment in technology, and he is saying to you, I will love to make that kind of investment but based on what you are saying to me which is probably a best case scenario I will only begin to see value in 3-4 years. So what you would find in this climate is that you would have large organizations that would have a bit more bandwidth able to make the right levels of investments.”


As you begin to go down to the SMEs, it is much more difficult, Okigbo noted.

For SMEs, the adoption and use of technology is critical for competitiveness, and economic development. 

“Nigeria’s economy depends to a large extent on SMEs which constitute about 97% of total businesses in the manufacturing, commerce and service sectors; however, even with the increasing potential of technology to individuals and businesses, there is sadly still a huge number of Nigerian SMEs that are yet to adopt technology due to some of the issues I highlighted earlier. 


One of the key considerations of the government is primarily the challenge that you would have with change management, Okigbo explained.

“People tend to think of technology from the perspective of efficiency and speed, but when you are implementing it at the scale of the government, then the change management consideration becomes a huge consideration; can people adopt the solution quickly? Do they understand it? Is it easy for them to move from whatever they were used to, to this new method? And if it breaks, what happens?”

“With regards to technology advancement it is very different, adoption can be done at any level. If I make 10 kilobyte of seconds available and they all use it, I can say they have adopted technology, but with regards to advancement we are talking about being on the leading edge of technological advancement globally and that’s an entirely different conversation.”



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