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A supportive business environment in Nigeria

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By Mercy Kelani

Nigeria needs to shift towards a knowledge-based economy for development.

Dangote emphasized the importance of creating a supportive business environment in Nigeria that encourages the effective utilization of current knowledge through incentives. Africa’s wealthiest individual, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, who is also the CEO of Dangote Group, has emphasized the need for Nigeria to transition from a economy reliant on natural resources to one centred around knowledge and innovation. According to a report, Dangote proposed the suggestion during a pre-convocation talk given as one of the events scheduled for the 38th graduation ceremony at Bayero University, Kano (BUK).

It is crucial for Nigeria to shift towards a knowledge-based economy in order to take advantage of the vast benefits offered by the knowledge economy. Asian nations such as South Korea, India, China, and the Asian tigers have all made the strategic choice to establish a knowledge-based economy, which has proven to be highly advantageous for their development. In a recent publication by the World Bank, Ismail Radwan and Giulia Pellegrini emphasized the importance of utilizing knowledge for advancement. They highlighted that throughout history, the utilization of knowledge has been crucial for development and has the potential to transform societies by influencing economic outcomes.

Gov’t research institutions have accumulated massive knowledge over time.

Their assertion was that the knowledge economy encompasses more than just setting up advanced technology sectors and fostering a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. His argument was that by embracing common technologies already in use in more advanced nations, a substantial increase in productivity and economic advancement could be achieved. Mansur Ahmed, the Group Executive Director of the Dangote conglomerate, stood in representation of him. According to Dangote, in order for Nigeria to successfully shift to a knowledge-based economy, it must prioritize enhancing the business environment, improving education and skills, fostering innovation systems, and upgrading information communication infrastructure, as per the World Bank’s recommendations.

In his statement, he emphasized the importance of creating a favourable business atmosphere in Nigeria that encourages the effective utilization of current knowledge by offering incentives. Government research institutions have accumulated a wealth of knowledge over time, which can be valuable for companies looking to utilize existing resources. New types of seeds, legumes, and other crops have been developed by agricultural research centres and are currently being grown in small amounts on their showcase farms. The implementation of incentives by the government is crucial in encouraging companies to utilize these innovative new types of products.

Support should be given to Nigerian youth with a passion for new tech.

The government is considering a plan to gradually replace older, low-yielding crop species with new ones. As part of this initiative, they will offer incentives such as subsidies, free fertiliser, and support from agriculture extension officers to farmers who are willing to make the switch. Government agencies play a crucial role in encouraging firms and businesses to utilize their existing knowledge in their day-to-day operations. The Nigerian government successfully showcased its ability in the auction and licensing of GSM operators.

This strategic decision led to significant transformations in the field of communications, leading to the generation of numerous direct and indirect employment opportunities for millions of individuals. The transfer of existing technologies to Nigeria was also a direct result of the winning bids, with the winners bringing the necessary skills and technologies to construct their networks. Encouragement and support should be given to Nigerian youth with a passion for new technologies, in order to help them harness their natural talents through the expansion of entrepreneurship facilities and hubs.

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Additionally, the Nigerian education system needs to shift its focus towards enhancing practical skills rather than solely relying on traditional academic credentials. Dangote suggested that individuals who bring new ideas, establish companies, and engage in inventive work should be given the opportunity to address the audience. Barau Jibrin, the Deputy President of the Senate, and Prof. Sagir Abbas, the Vice Chancellor of the University, were among the esteemed guests present at the pre-convocation lecture. Over 11,000 students are set to graduate and receive degrees at the upcoming Convocation ceremony. Additionally, honorary doctorate degrees will be presented to the President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, and Sen Barau Jibrin.

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