Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, in Kaduna lamented that Nigeria is yet to take full advantage of its young talents, stressing the need for Nigeria to focus on developing knowledge based economy where human capital is developed to become a productive asset that can be sold for profit anywhere.
Addressing the sixth Kaduna Investment Summit tagged, “Kadinvest 6.0” held in Kaduna, Osinbajo said rather than natural resources, well developed and nurtured human capital has become an invaluable asset anywhere in the world, as ICT and technology are ruling the world.
Osinbajo said the future of financial technology is not in banks, noting that Nigeria is becoming technology investment solution hub in Sub-Sahara Africa.
Speaking on the theme of the summit, “Towards a Sustainable Knowledge Based Economy,” Prof Osinbajo said the focus today must be developing a knowledge based economy, noting that knowledge based economy means human capital development. He said that 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 knowledge economy. Millions of data in terabytes are stored in chips, 1,000 megawatts of power can be stored in a battery. The future of financial technology is not in banks. Nigeria is becoming technology investment solution hub in sub-Sahara Africa,” the VP added.
Giving a recap of the previous five editions and where Kaduna State intends to be, Governor Nasir El-Rufai said the state government has attracted $2.8 billion investments and created 100,000 direct and indirect jobs.
The governor said the state has risen from 14th to 4th position in Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) realising N50.7 billion in 2020, adding that the state is developing a $50 million 21.9kw solar mini grid power supply at Igabi.
“We have been offered a $200 million loan to build a bus rapid transit (BRT) metro system in Kaduna. The Peugeot Dangote Automobile plant, launched in 2019 to produce saloons, SUVs and trailers, would be commissioned before the end of the year. We will soon open Shoprite at the Galaxy Mall. A $650 million iron ore company to produce steel is nearing completion in Jere, Kagarko local government.
“We signed an agreement with Arla of Denmark to build a ranch that would settle 1,000 Fulani herders and their families with all facilities; grass, water, schools, hospitals at the cost of N12 billion. N8 billion is from CBN and N2 billion from Kaduna State. Arla will contribute €5 million,” he said.
El-Rufai added: “Over 5,000 young people have been trained in entrepreneurship, about 600 have submitted business plans and 200 of them have been funded by Bank of Industry (BOI) and the businesses are thriving. There is an ICT hub named Desert Valley, after the American Silicon Valley, for ICT training and development. We are working with Airtel to expand broadband access.
“More than 80% of our population are below 65 years and most of them living in the urban centres; Kaduna, Zaria and Kafanchan, we need jobs and infrastructural investment. We are investing N80 billion on massive road infrastructure in Kaduna, Zaria and Kafanchan,” El-Rufai said.
Delivering his keynote address, president of Afrexim Bank, Prof Benedict Oramah, said the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the risks associated with Nigeria’s excessive dependence on primary commodity without adding value to the commodity.
He said anything that affects the price of crude oil would affect revenue allocation to the three tiers of government.
Oramah, however expressed hope that the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) would improve the intra Africa trade to reduce volatility.