Speaking at the closing of the Kaduna Investment Summit, tagged KadInvest 6.0, former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and deposed Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, lent his voice to the depleting future of carbon and the attendant loss of value of oil as an economic base.
Sanusi stated that knowledge, not oil, has become the most important resource, as the world embraces a knowledge-based economy, which formed the theme of KadInvest 6.0.
He reminded his audience that while Ghana with a smaller economy invests more in education, Nigeria spends only seven percent of its budget in that direction, saying that, only eight out of every 100 Nigerians who start primary school, complete university education.
As a consequence, he lamented: “Nigeria is ranked 114th in the global innovation index. We are lower than other African countries such as Kenya, 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 a feet of clay.”
According to Sanusi, “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. There is increased automation and artificial intelligence. Very soon, robots will take over work in most countries and those who would have jobs are those who operate the robots or manufacture the robots or service the robots.
“And you have decarburization. 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 needs. 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 as a country that depends on oil, things need to change.
“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 Nigeria’s 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.
“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,” he said.