By Noé Ebije, Kaduna
Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo said the need for Nigeria to focus on developing a knowledge-based economy where human capital is developed to become a productive for-profit asset.
Osinbajo lamented, however, that Nigeria has yet to take full advantage of the development of its young talents.
Addressing the 6th Kaduna Investment Summit on Thursday marked Kadinvest 6.0 in Kaduna, Prof Osinbajo said that rather than natural resources, well-developed and nurtured human capital has become an invaluable asset all over the world, as people ICT and technology rule the world.
Speaking on the theme of the Summit, “Towards a sustainable knowledge-based economy”, the Vice-President said: “Today, the focus must be on the development of a knowledge-based economy. The knowledge-based economy in question is synonymous with the development of human capital. Education and knowledge can become productive assets to be sold for profit rather than natural resources.
“Digital data, digital solutions to improve agricultural yields, digital platforms to provide online study. It is possible to move from where we are to the knowledge economy. Millions of data in terabytes are stored in chips, 1000 megawatts of power can be stored in a battery. The future of financial technology does not lie in banking. Nigeria is emerging as a hub of technology investment solutions in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Meanwhile, state governor Nasir el-Rufai said the state government has attracted $ 2.8 billion in investment and created 100,000 direct and indirect jobs from previous editions of the kadinvest.
He said the state rose from 14th to 4th position in Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) achieving N50.7 billion in 2020, adding that the state was developing a solar mini-grid power supply of 21. , 9 kW of 50 million dollars in Igabi.
“We were offered a $ 200 million loan to build a Metro Rapid Transit Bus (BRT) system in Kaduna. The Peugeot Dangote Automobile plant, launched in 2019 to produce sedans, SUVs and trailers, would be commissioned before the end of the year. We will be opening Shoprite at Galaxy Mall soon. A $ 650 million iron ore business to produce steel is nearing completion in Jere, Kagarko local government.
“We signed an agreement with Arla from Denmark to build a ranch that would house 1,000 Fulani shepherds and their families with all the facilities; grass, water, schools, hospitals at a cost of N12 billion. 8 billion naira comes from the CBN and 2 billion naira from Kaduna state. Arla will bring 5 million euros.
“Over 5,000 young people have been trained in entrepreneurship, around 600 have submitted business plans and 200 of them have been funded by the Bank of Industry (BOI) and businesses are thriving. There is an ICT cluster called Desert Valley, named after the American Silicon Valley, for the training and development of ICTs. We are working with Airtel to expand broadband access.
“Over 80% of our population is under 65 and most of them living in the urban centers of Kaduna, Zaria and Kafanchan, we need jobs and investment in infrastructure. We are investing 80 billion naira in massive road infrastructure in Kaduna, Zaria and Kafanchan, ”el-Rufai said.
In his opening speech, Afrexim Bank Chairman Professor Benedict Oramah said the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the risks associated with Nigeria’s over-reliance on commodities without adding additional value to the raw material. He said anything that affects the price of crude oil will affect the allocation of revenues to the three levels of government.
However, he expressed hope that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) would improve intra-African trade to improve volatility.