Yesterday I attended the 2nd meeting of MomoNigeria , Nigeria’s own chapter of MobileMonday – a community consisting of developers, entrepreneurs and enthusiasts interested in the further growth and development of the mobile industry. While I do have basic coding skills, my presence in these meetings is primarily as an enthusiast and budding entrepreneur. The first meeting a few months ago focused on Location Based Services, but this time the focus was on the role of government policy in mobile business development.
Introductory remarks were made by Yomi Adegboye of Mobility Nigeria, highlighting the unique challenges of doing business in Nigeria and the need for improved quality of service from providers. This was followed by the “traffic report” from Sheriff Shittu of Webtrendsng.com going over the events of the recently concluded Garage48 as well as expressing the need for more apps and value-added services to fuel Nigeria’s digital revolution.
Right after introductions were made, we delved straight into the discussion – with PIN’s Gbenga Sesan acting as moderator. The disconnect between governance and action in the industry was one of the first issues to arise. The primary question being: How to bridge the gap between the mobile industry and government policy? Also, is government policy a major reason why we haven’t seen adoption? Or are we as a community failing to take advantage of our market? South Korea was cited as an example of where governance in action had a positive influence on adoption. Another interesting point that was brought up concerned how much knowledge members of the mobile community had regarding how government polices work and are formed. After all, it would be difficult to influence what we do not understand…
Overall, it was a fairly lively and mixed group that I left behind during the networking session. I was pleased to see a few more women this time (I think I was one of three at the first meeting) as well as a couple of returnees. A consultant for the World Bank on scalable local ICT companies in Africa was also present, as well as the COO of Mobitel Nigeria, Tomi Davies, who took the time to share a few stories of his experiences in the industry. Personally, the meeting brought up more questions than answers for me, so I think following up on our ideas and suggestions will be vital to the long-term success of the group. I’d certainly hope that as a group we can develop a platform where concepts discussed at these meetings can not only be recorded, but tracked to see what we’ve learned and any progress that we’ve made over time.