Dangote Advises Nigeria To Transit To Knowledge-based Economy

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Africa’s richest man and Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has recommended that Nigeria moves from resource-based to knowledge-based economy.

Dangote made the recommendation in a pre-convocation lecture he delivered as part of activities lined up for the 38th convocation of the Bayero University, Kano, at the weekend.

“Given the tremendous benefits that knowledge economy offers, it is vital that Nigeria makes the transition from a resource-based economy to knowledge-based economy. Countries like South Korea, India, China, and the Asian tigers at one time or the other took the decision to institutionalise knowledge economy and are today reaping the
benefits.

“Ismail Radwan and Giulia Pellegrini in a World Bank publication stated that harnessing knowledge for development is not a new concept as it has always been central to development and can mean the difference between poverty and wealth.

“They argued that knowledge economy is not just about establishing high-tech industries and creating an innovative and entrepreneurial culture. Simply adopting existing technologies widely available in developed countries can dramatically boost productivity and economic growth,” the business mogul said.

Represented by the Group Executive Director of the Dangote conglomerate, Engineer Mansur Ahmed, Dangote quoted the World Bank as stating that for Nigeria to make the transition to knowledge economy, it must pay attention to the business environment, education & skills, innovation systems and information communication infrastructure.

He said Nigeria needs a conducive business environment that provides incentive for the efficient use of existing knowledge.

“There are many government research institutions and the existing knowledge gathered over the years can be put into use by firms. Agricultural research institutes have produced new varieties of seeds, legumes and others that are being cultivated in small quantities in their demonstration farms. This is where the government should come in with incentives for firms that would make use of these new varieties,” he said.

Dangote also said government may decide to embark on phasing out older low yielding specie of crops and provide incentives for those willing to plant the new ones in terms of subsidies, free fertiliser, and technical help from agriculture extension officers.

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“Government through its agencies can help in insisting that firms and businesses apply existing knowledge in their operations. Nigerian government demonstrated this capacity in the auction and licencing of GSM operators. That singular move brought rapid changes to the communications sector and created millions of direct and indirect jobs.

“It also resulted in the transfer of existing technologies to Nigeria as the winners of the bids brought requisite skills and technologies to build their networks. Nigerian youths that are passionate about new technologies should be encouraged and supported to exploit their natural talents by expanding entrepreneurship facilities and hubs.

“There should be reforms in our educational system with more emphasis on skill development than paper qualification. Innovators, founders of businesses and creators should be invited to speak,” Dangote said.

Dignitaries who attended the pre-convocation lecture included the Deputy President of the Senate, Barau Jibrin; and the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof.Sagir Abbas.

A total of 11,284 graduating students will receive degrees, while two distinguished personalities including the President of African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, and Deputy Senate President, and Jibrin would be awarded honorary doctorate degrees at the convocation scheduled to hold later today.

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