Muhammadu Sanusi ll, the former Emir of Kano, said Nigeria should cease calling itself the “Giant of Africa,” adding that the country lags far behind several other African countries in terms of development.
He further claimed that, because of the rate at which Ghana was luring industries, the “Ghanaian President has become Africa’s leading President.”
While Nigeria remains trapped on crude oil, which is rapidly decreasing and difficult to sell, the rest of the world is embracing technology, according to Sanusi, a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
He claims that until Nigeria’s economic priority shifts from oil to knowledge, the country’s economy is doomed to collapse.
Sanusi addressed at the Kaduna Investment Summit’s concluding session, tagged “KadInvest 6.0.”
He said that, whereas neighbouring Ghana, which has a smaller economy, invests more in education, Nigeria only spends 7% of its budget on it.
He said that in Nigeria, just eight out of every 100 primary school pupils make it to university and that only a small percentage of those do acquire a job after graduation.
Sanusi said, “Globally, work is being redefined; 30 to 40 percent of workers in developed economies will need to significantly upgrade their skills by 2030. And what are the major drivers of this redefinition? ICT and remote working, which we have seen even here with COVID-19.
“There is increased automation and Artificial Intelligence. Very soon, robots will take over work in most countries and those who have jobs are those who operate the robots or manufacture the robots or service the robots.
“For us in Nigeria, the enclave economy that we have, the so-called goose that lays the golden egg is about to die. There will be no eggs. The future is not in the carbons.
“A few months ago, Germany was able to produce enough renewable energy for the entire country’s need. Today, we are having difficulties selling Nigerian oil. So, not only are we having problems producing, even when we produce, the market is not there.
“So, this is forcing a change, and for us, a country that depends on oil, things need to change.
“Nigeria is ranked 114th in the global innovation index. We are lower than other African countries such as Kanya, Rwanda, and Senegal. We are, in fact, ranked 14th in sub-Saharan Africa. I think we should have this reality check and know where we are as a country. Let’s stop calling ourselves the Giant of Africa because we are the giant with clay feet.
“Countries like Kenya, Rwanda, and Senegal are ahead of us. I am not even talking about South Africa. Our expenditure on education is only seven percent of the budget. We are spending less on education than Ghana; I am not talking about as per the percentage of the budget; in absolute terms, even though the Ghanaian economy is much smaller than the Nigerian economy, even though the Ghanaian government revenue is less than Nigerian revenue, Ghana is spending more on education than Nigeria.
“And we are surprised that industries are moving to Ghana. We are surprised that the Ghanaian President has become the leading President in Africa? We are not investing in education and human capital.
“We have a 68 percent missing job requirement and the major areas being IT, communication and decision making. And the completion rate between entry into primary one and completing university is eight percent, meaning that out of every 100 pupils who go into primary school, only eight come out of university. And out of those eight, nine percent, which is one of the eight will get a job.
“So, this is the reality in addition to what is happening globally. Now, digitization to level the playing field is required, if we are deliberate and we shift from consumption to value creation. But part of our problem is that, even when we have the solution at our feet, we do not take it.”
Sanusi also emphasized the importance of developing young people’s skills to create an enabling environment for economic growth and development.
Nasir El-Rufai, the governor of Kaduna State, stated that his administration believes that the world’s future jobs would be digital.
El-Rufai stated that ICT skills would be taught in vocational institutes as well as primary and secondary schools throughout the state.
“We believe in preparing and thinking through what our state requires, and we build human capital capacity,” he said.