Africa’s Prospect for socio-economic development and indeed any other form of development will be largely determined by her response to the twin factors of security and technological advancement. Both factors a global in dimension, dynamic in nature and devastating in consequences. No nation can afford to neglect to pay serious attention to them or develop a unilateral response to them. Security challenges to the nations of Africa are multi-layered and multi-varied, yet intertwined with the very essence of human existence on the continent.
These challenges range from human and drug trafficking within and outside the continent to irregular migration in search of better opportunities. They also include the proliferation of arms and ammunition across International boundaries with damaging consequences to peace and human security.
They also incorporate the illicit transfer of funds and other resources from the continent which creates humongous job deficit among the teeming youthful population on the continent. Others are the growing acts of terrorism, kidnapping, banditry, inter-tribal conflicts, xenophobic attacks on migrants within Africa and intractable violent struggles over resource ownership.
Whereas advancement in technology holds the potential solution to most of the problems confronting modern society, its ambivalent capacity to also become a tool in the hands of anti-social forces makes it pertinent for Africa to develop a continent-wide approach to its deployment in the service of humanity. Through technology, for example, many African countries are improving the quality and quantity of services available in education, healthcare, financial services, agricultural practices, transportation, telecommunication and even electoral processes.
Conversely, it is equally a fact that technology has created a new vista of criminal adventurism and enhanced the capability of self-organisation of individuals to inflict serious physical and psychological injuries on society. Cybercrime, kidnapping and internet, for example, have become alternative ways of life to the teeming population of unemployed youths across many urban centres in Africa. The cry for improved security of life and property is loud and strident across many African countries.
The quest for socio-economic development in Africa may remain a mirage until solutions are proffered to the challenges posed to human, social and economic security on the continent. Economic insecurity remains the major cause of crime and social insecurity and it is safe to posit that innovative technological advancement can serve not only as a potent weapon against crime but also as a catalyst for economic growth on the African continent if properly explored and carefully deployed.
The faculty of Business and Communication Studies, The Polytechnic Ibadan, Nigeria is, therefore, inviting scholars from across the continent to her 2019 International conference to share research findings on the burning issues outlined above and begin the process of developing a roadmap for Africa to achieve the much-needed socio-economic development.