…. Says ‘We need to overcome barriers to knowledge economy’***
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has reassured of the Federal government’s readiness to continue rendering all the necessary support towards uplifting the people’s standard of living.
The Vice President gave this assurance on Thursday, in Kaduna at the unveiling of the Kaduna Investment Summit 6.0 with the theme : “Towards a sustainable knowledge-based economy”.
He lauded the efforts of the state government at promoting investments, stressing that this had brought prestige not only to Kaduna state but to Nigeria as a whole.
According to him, he had followed the state government’s progress as a result of the seriousness it had brought to sub-national governance in Nigeria.
He said that the policies and innovation in the state had clearly made it an exemplar and even the theme of the summit was a commendable development.
” With the focus, we must be developing a knowledge-based economy which is now human capital and knowledge driven and can be productive assets”, he said.
Osinbajo noted that a knowledge-based economy was capable of enhancing performance and all the benefits that can be derived from Agriculture, manufacturing and services.
The summit has become a platform that had been unveiled not only to market Kaduna, but Nigeria in general, as a compelling businesses destination for investment, the vice president said.
He said Gov. El-rufai’s efforts had clearly positioned the state to benefit maximally from the critical infrastructural development in the country.
Osinbajo described Kaduna state government’s policies as complementing those of the Federal government in creating millions of jobs and opportunities.
He noted that the state had become the business hub for future job creation and for the future of economic development, not only in Kaduna, but the country at large.
The vice president, however, warned we are very far from taking full advantage of our young people.
“The main problem is how to bridge the barrier to the knowledge economy, how to surmount the barriers to the knowledge economy.
” The first is the structure that provides incentives for entrepreneurship and use of knowledge, the second is the availability of skills, labour, a good educational system and access to information.
“And communication technology and ICT, while the fourth is a vibrant investing landscape that includes academia the private sector and civil society” he said.
He further emphasized that a knowledge economy has to be entirely dependent on intellectual capital and a knowledgeable work force.
In his remarks, the state governor Nasir El-rufai said the state had laid a foundation for the provision of over seven million jobs before 2050.
He explained that over 70 percent of the population in the state was below 30 years of age, hence the need for informed decisions on harnessing the potentials of this youthful human resource accordingly.
El-rufai disclosed that the state government had recorded tremendous successes in the previous editions of the investment summits, noting that efforts were being intensified to maintain the enviable position of the state as number one in ease of doing business in Nigeria.
As part of efforts to boost business activities and generate huge revenues for development, he said, the state government, therefore, decided to hold its sixth edition of the Economic and Investment Summit tagged KADINVEST 6.0.
He cited the summit as a platform for demonstrating that Kaduna state was open for business and committed to achieving sustainable economic growth by legislating to make it easier to do business, and aligning its budget to capital expenditures to build human capital and infrastructure.
El-rufai highlighted some of the achievements recorded since the first summit in 2016 to date to include the declaration of the state as number one in the ease of doing business in the country and placing fourth in terms of its level of internally generated revenue.
The governor stated that apart from the about three billion dollar investment, the state had been able to provide over one 100,000 direct and indirect jobs in the state.
In the meantime, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says barriers to knowledge economy have to be surmounted in order to cushion the impact of disruptive technology on key sectors.
Osinbajo was the Special Guest of Honour at a two-day Kaduna State Investment Summit (KADINVEST) 6.0 on Thursday in Kaduna.
The theme of the Summit is, “Towards a Sustainable Knowledge Based Economy.’’
The vice president said that Nigeria was very far from taking full advantage of its young talented people.
“The main problem is how to surmount the barriers to the knowledge economy; how do we surmount those barriers to the knowledge economy?
“`The World Bank describes those barriers as the four pillars of the Knowledge economy:
“The first is institutional structures that provide incentives for entrepreneurship and the use of knowledge.
“The second is availability of skilled labor and a good education system
“The third is access to information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure.
“The fourth is vibrant innovation landscape that includes academia, the private sector, and civil society.’’
According to him, the knowledge economy, as the name implies, is entirely dependent on intellectual capital, a work force and talent pool that is educated, dynamic and adaptable.
He said it required a sound, relevant, practical, problem solving education.
“So, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math or STEM education as it is called, is crucial.
“The curriculum being developed by the Federal Ministry of education adds Arts to the combination of subjects; so our own acronym is STEAM because we have added Arts to it.
“The task here is major–developing an education system that would provide resource and support the knowledge economy- from teacher training to acquiring technology and other equipment.’’
Osinbajo said that an effective planning was needed in order to create adequate resource capacity and capability
He said factors to be considered included what it would take to train and equip enough engineers, technologists, scientists, doctors and other products of STEM curricula to drive a Knowledge Based Economy.
“Thankfully we are not alone in this, as there are global shortages everywhere of technological talent.
“A recent analysis showed that the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning talent gap globally stands at 1.2 million resources, while there are only 650 thousand professionals employable in these roles.
“The best Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development(OECD) countries have 16 scientist/researches per 1000 employees and spend 1 to 3 per cent of GDP on Research and Development.
“Where do we stand on that scale? How do we accelerate our progress?
He said that with global gaps in talent, well planned training programme could even see Nigeria become a hub for critical technical talent.
This was proven with the success of Andela, a Nigerian company, developing and placing Software Engineering talent.
He said it could be replicated across a broader range of STEM disciplines.
“So, it is possible with companies like Andela; that is already doing so much work developing soft engineers, programmers and all manner of other talents; it is possible to do more and increase the numbers.
“Some ideas that can be explored include support for on-the job and tailored training to accelerate talent development and augment conventional schooling.
“For example, I understand Blue Camel has a Solar Installation training facility on its industrial campus where it trains hundreds of students a year.
“Also, the curricula in trainings could have a standard knowledge set that must be learnt prior to specialisation.’’
Osinbajo said that the standard principles should support mobility of talent across jobs to adapt to changes in a Knowledge-Based economy.
He said that the Kashim Ibrahim Fellowship promoted by the state government was capable of creating a critical mass of talented people.
“I think The Kashim Ibrahim Fellowship, which the Kaduna State government initiated a few years ago, which exposes Fellows to thought leaders and experts.
“And to practical experience through rotational job programs and community service is also an example of the type of initiatives needed to create a high caliber talent pool for the Knowledge Based Future,’’ he said.
Gov. Nasir el-Rufai, who presented an overview of KADINVEST 1.0 to 5.0 and unveiled KADINVEST 6.0, thanked the vice president for gracing the event.
He said that KADINVEST, which was started in 2016 less than a year after he took office, was in realisation of partnering with the private sector in creating jobs and growing the state.
Osinbajo, afterwards inspected the Galaxy Mall, Kaduna, and proceeded to inaugurate the Kasuwan Magani market and 100 kilowatt Solar PV Mini-Grid, at Kajuru.
Osinbajo said that the Galaxy Mall and the Kasuwan Magani market were both products of the focus of the Kaduna State Government in enabling commerce and improving the economic prospects of its citizens.