Nigeria can become fastest growing economy with digital transformation – ABC Orjiako

He said this would go a long way to harness the skills of the country’s young and vibrant population.


Dr ABC Orjiako, pioneer Chairman, Seplat Energy Plc, says Nigeria has the potential to become one of the fastest growing economies in the world with digital transformation.
Orjiako said this while delivering the third Arthur Mbanefo Lecture series organised by the the Arthur Mbanefo Digital Research Centre (AMDRC), University of Lagos, on Friday in Lagos.
The theme of the lecture is: “Global digital transformation and the Nigerian paradox.”
He said this would go a long way to harness the skills of the country’s young and vibrant population.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the lecture was in honour of Chief Mbanefo, a one time Pro-Chancellor of the university, who will be marking his 92nd birthday on Saturday.
Orjiako who noted that the country was rich in human and natural resources called for concerted efforts to maximise these resources.
“Nigeria has that great potential to be the world superpower through its vast human and material resources.
“Its population according to the United Nation is expected to grow to 300 million people by 2050 making us the world’s third most populous country at the time.
“We have one of the youngest youth population in the world. Over 60 per cent of the population is less than 35 years old. This can turnout to be a blessing or a curse, depending on how we manage them,” he said.

The business mogul said that the solution to the country’s challenges must come from within.

He said that Nigeria would rise above other nations and become a superpower in technological advancement if it looked inward and rose above any limiting factor.

“There is a need for further collaborative efforts to ensure that both government and the private sector provide solutions for the country,” he added.

He said digital transformation was one of the easiest ways of achieving the feat.

Orjiako said the much desired transformation required focus on accelerating improvements in every sector of the country’s economy and society.

“Gone were the days when we would be relying so much on producing graduates from universities with just certificates without the required skill-sets for employability.

“The poor state of the country’s education sector is no longer a new talking point. For the digital revolution to happen, we must invest in technology education for our teeming youths, revise curriculum across the tiers of education to address new skills that will be required in the coming digital transformation.

“Education is key for Nigeria to transform in the digital space. The literacy level in Africa stands at less than 62 per cent which is behind the world average of 90 per cent (UNESCO 2020).

“This gap needs to be addressed with quality education that is not tailored toward traditional learning but the emerging knowledge areas such as technology and the digital economy.
“Emphasis must also be placed on entrepreneurship and the technical skills in order to meet the expected demand of these skills in the near future,” he said.
He highlighted policy and enabling environment, access to energy, infrastructure, e-government, as other key indices to achieve accelerated digital transformation.
Orjiako noted that digital transformation would not be possible without addressing the issue of energy in the country.
He urged government to take the lead by ensuring digitisation of its system through e-tax, cloud computing and Artifical Intelligence.
Orjiako said that this would facilitate connectivity, social interactions and as well drive greater transparency and accountability.
“One way to fight corruption is to digitise everything,” he added.

In his brief remark, Mbanefo, donor of the AMRDC, said the country needed a government that sought to be part of the world.

He said that efforts must be made for the citizens to be conscious of their environment technologically.
“First, I must start by thanking the organisers of this programme. It is apt and full of take home messages. It is an incisive lecture series that has brought to the fore, issues, as they relate to our needs.
“We need a government that will be a part of the world. If we fail to do so, then, we are sure to be left behind.
“We must realise that we are not on our own. We must acknowledge that we are part of the whole. We must create an environment that will assist us all to wake up to the reality of time.
“I also urge us all to serve with sincerely of purpose, whenever we are given the opportunity and build a country we all will be proud to call our own,” Mbanefo said.
Earlier in his opening remark, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said the centre was one of those partnerships the institution had with the private sector.
Ogundipe who was represented by Prof. Obinna Chukwu, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Management Services), added that the centre  had gone a long way in improving research and the knowledge economy in the university.
“For a centre of this nature with the entire facilities here worth several millions of Naira and which had been bequeathed to this institution on his (Chief Mbanefo’s)  90th birthday, a lecture series, was instituted as a way of immortalising his name.
“It is a way of also remembering the very great works he has been doing for the service of humanity,” he said.
“On behalf of the members of the university community, members of staff, students and friends of the university, here is wishing him a very happy 92 birthday as he celebrates on Saturday,” he prayed.
The high point of the event was an award of appreciation to the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ogundipe, for his unrelenting support to the centre, as well as the guest lecture, Dr Orjiako.



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