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Nigeria no longer Giant of Africa, let’s stop deceiving ourselves — Sanusi

A former Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi ll, says Nigeria has lost its primacy as the Giant of Africa to other countries that diversified their economies.

Mr Sanusi said Nigeria is now behind many other African countries in development indices.

The former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria said this at the closing session of the Kaduna Investment Summit, tagged, ‘KadInvest 6.0.’

He said while Nigeria depend on crude oil, which is fast depleting and struggling to sell, the rest of the world was embracing technology.

“Globally, work is being redefined; 30 to 40 per cent 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, robot 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.

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“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 to produce, 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.

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“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 per cent of the budget. We are spending less on education than Ghana; I am not talking about as per 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.

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“We have a 68 per cent 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 per cent, meaning that out of every 100 pupil 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 job.

“So, this is the reality in addition to what is happening globally. Now, digitisation 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,” Mr Sanusi said.

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