His Highness, Khalifa Muhammadu Sanusi II, has leveraged his position on the global board of MTN Group, to attract the telecommunication giant’s initiative to enhance ICT knowledge in Africa, to Kaduna state.
Khalifa Sanusi, who is the Vice Chairman of Kaduna Investment Promotion Agency (KADIPA), made the announcement last week at the 6th edition of the Kaduna Investment and Economic Summit (KADINVEST 6.0) in Kaduna.
The 14th Emir of Kano disclosed that the global tech company has started MTN Education which is powered by google and three countries were selected for the pioneering project but Nigeria was not amongst them.
Sanusi who is former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), further said that Google will be providing subsidized laptops which will have applications like Google Classroom, Google Workspace and ‘’MTN provides the voice and data connectivity.’’
‘’At the board meeting (on Thursday), we were briefed that we are going to do pilots in three African countries and Nigeria is not one of them. So, after the meeting, I called the global CEO and asked why is Nigeria not one of your pilots because there is the market.
‘’And I said that you know, I’m in Kaduna; the reason why I was a few minutes late for this meeting was because I was at an investment summit in Kaduna state, which has decided to be a knowledge-based economy and I explained to him what we were doing,’’ Khalifa Sanusi told the audience, adding that, ‘’and I said that I want Kaduna to be one of the pilots.’’
According to Sanusi, the global Chief Executive Officer immediately reached out to the Nigerian CEO and latter called him ‘’and the long and short of it is that MTN Education will pilot in South African, Sudan and Ghana and in Kaduna state.’’
His Highness Sanusi said that such quick response from MTN was only possible because Kaduna state is doing the right thing, not because he is on the board or Governor Nasir El-Rufai is his childhood friend.
The renowned economist praised Kaduna State Government ‘’ for thinking ahead and looking at the future and for preparing the state for the crisis that we are in and the crisis that is to come.’’
He commended Governor El-Rufai for taking ‘’ a number of difficult and unpopular decisions, decisions that every economist will agree were absolutely necessary, to place this state on the path of sustainability. ‘’
Sanusi particularly commended the governor for reducing the cost of governance, attracting investments, encouraging private sector participation in the economy and for ‘’ taking serious political risks in the short term in order to secure the long term future of the state.’’
‘’My prayer is that after you finish your term, whoever succeeds you, will build on what has been done. Because as we know, it is very easy for all the work that has been done in eight years to be destroyed in one day.
“We have seen institutions, we have seen strong institutions go into rubble within a few months of having the wrong leadership. So, I pray that Allah grant the people of Kaduna leadership that will continue to build on what has been done, so that the future generation can benefit from all the work that you do now,’’ he added.
Sanusi who made a presentation on ‘’Transitioning to a sustainable Knowledge Based Economy’’, argued that as countries become more knowledge intensive, their per capita GDP increases.
‘’As you increase the knowledge intensity of your economy, as you rely more on human capital, as you rely more on intellectual capacity, and less on natural resources, you reduce poverty and increase per capital income,’’ he added.
The former CBN governor said that although countries like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait are considered rich but they have lower per capita incomes than knowledge based economies like Singapore, Finland and Switzerland.
According to him, the per capita income of the United Arab Emirate (UAE) which is 58%, is higher than Saudi Arabia which is at 44% .
Sanusi warned that ‘’globally, work is being redefine, 30 to 40 percent of workers in developing economies need to upgrade their skills and rescale their operations by 2030,’’ adding that the drivers of the redefinition are digitalization and remote working, increased automation and artificial intelligence.
‘’Very soon, the robots will take the jobs of workers in many countries. Those that will have jobs will be those that are able to operate the robots or manufacture the robots or service the robots,’’
The former Chief Executive Officer of First Bank also warned against the nation’s over dependence on oil, adding that ‘’the so called goose that lays the golden eggs is about to die. The future is not in hydrocarbons. ‘’
‘’A few months ago, Germany was able to produce enough renewable energy for its entire country needs. Today, we are having difficulty selling Nigerian oil, the United States, India are not buying. So, not only are we able to produce, even if we produce, the market is not there,’’ he said.
According to the Vice Chairman of KADIPA, the whole idea of a knowledge based economy is to turn people from being consumers to producers through innovation.