On Wave and Related Transformational Products: Thoughts for the Young and Hopeful (Part 2)

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Momodou Sabally

By: Momodou Sabally

It may sound like an oxymoron, but the saying that “the only constant in life is change” is the very essence of life.

Humans may be uncomfortable with change but it is a necessary part of our lives. It is the rhythm of life and Allah confirms this for us in His Holy Book, The Quran “And so are the days (good and not so good), We give to men by turns…” (Quran, 3:140)

The above fact authenticates the thesis that when change comes, there would be winners and losers. This is why some people would naturally resist change.

Therefore, the emergence of Wave and similar transformational Fintech products will have its opponents for obvious reasons. Ironically, some of the entities resisting the brilliant innovation that Is Wave, may end up becoming its biggest beneficiaries.

The term “Luddite” refers to “a person opposed to new technology or ways of working.”

Those opposed to innovations, like Wave (due to their disruptive nature) are not much different from the British workers who “destroyed machinery, especially in cotton and woollen mills, that they believed was threatening their jobs” some 200 years ago.

But how many more millions of jobs did technological innovation create since then?

The world became a better place with the advent of new technology that was resisted by this anti-innovation thinking that is now known as the “Luddite fallacy”. With time “the general population benefitted from cheaper clothes, lower prices and new jobs in other sectors of the economy.”

Even back home here, some of the entities complaining about Wave were built on the ruins of State enterprises like Gamtel and the famous National Trading Company (NTC) that gave way to more dominant private enterprises with the #wave of change ushered in by new technology; and the #change of economic policy that brought us private-sector-led growth.

The benefits to be reaped from new technology like Fintech and it’s creative products include the ability for third word countries to leapfrog the development process, as postulated by Joseph Schumpeter in his creative destruction theory: “process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one.”

In the case of products like wave our masses could benefit from running to the cutting edge of modern finance by “leapfrogging a still-lagging adoption of credit and debit cards.”

This means that remote and backwards places like Kiang did not have to go through land telephones before moving on to catch up with more advanced places like Badibou to enjoy mobile phones -Lol! They did simply leapfrog the process and get to using cellphones.

Interestingly enough, I understand that Wave has helped the people of Kiang to buy Cash-power at home without needing to travel to Jarra to buy their it from physical Nawec outlets. This is a brilliant move.

My boy Buba Sana Njie (Bobling Bob) no longer has to go to banks to cash a check or run after customers for miles to pick up cash payments from buyers of his trending super magnum quality Geztner. His loyal customers, including fresh UTG graduates employed by Wave can just ‘wave’ him their payments.

When payments are due, not even his swag-savvy friend S.G can give Bobling the excuse that he is on trek at Basse; .S.G can simply ‘wave’ his payment to Bobling and the deal is closed.

The Gambia is ripe for huge benefits from Fintech development with a young population that is generally tech-savvy. Fighting and discouraging products like Wave will put our young ones at a disadvantage.

What use is a digital economy ministry when old players are always eager to kill new tech products like the luddites of old.

Smacks of Bob Marley’s timeless lyrics in his classic “I shot the Sheriff” “Every time I plant a seed, He said kill it before it grow, He said kill them before they grow.”

Let us create room for the emergence of these new innovations by encouraging our existing companies to invest in diversification of their operation methods and processes for the wind of change can never be stopped at the end of the day.

There should be some fine way of creative cooperation to generate win-win situations in our inexorable journey of life marked with constant change.

Momodou Sabally
Former Presidential Affairs Minister, Founder-President,
SLA

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