By Chioma Obinagwam
Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Mr. Ahmed Kuru, has identified investment in human capital development as a major driver to Nigeria’s economic growth.
He, however, called on Nigerians to join forces with the present leadership in the country especially now that the government is paying improved attention to science and technology as a way of moving the Nigerian economy away from a resource-based economy to knowledge-based economic model.
Kuru, who was Guest Speaker at the 2018 Institute of Directors (IoD) Fellows’ Luncheon, which held at The Civic Centre in Victoria Island, Lagos in a paper titled “Determinants Of Growth In Transition Economies…,” said it was heartwarming to know that the present President Muhammadu Buhari led-government is thinking diversification, which would ultimately launch Nigeria on the path of economic growth.
He stated that it was a shame that Nigeria has remained where it is today because of some bad decisions of the past, which denied Nigeria the desired economic growth.
Nevertheless, he expressed optimism that Nigeria as a nation with enormous human and natural resources can still make haste and progress from being a third world country to a 2nd and even 1st world country in the not too distant future given the right political, social and economic decisions.
Kuru said, “It is good to know that the government has made science and technology a key part of the National Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP), which underscores moving the Nigerian economy away from a resource-based to a knowledge-based model.”
But before Nigeria can leverage this to emerge a strong economy among the comity of nations, the AMCON boss noted that there was need to discard the negative vices that the country has cemented in its political and social life and adapt the development templates as well as experiences of other countries around the world that have successfully used such models to change the narratives of their economies.
He argued that some of the countries we look up to today as first world countries, decades back, were either worse off than Nigeria or at about the same level with Nigeria.
Again he said, “Broadly speaking, from the experiences of advanced countries including the United States, China, Britain, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore to those closer to us like Brazil, Russia, South Africa, what stands as reason or anchors for their progress is simply a commitment to some defined drivers of growth i.e. human capital development, innovation, technology, strong institutions, democracy (freedom of choice) and governance. The two most important determinants are good governance and human capital development.”
Expatiating further how human capital can play key role in the economic development for Nigeria, Kuru said, countries that have made sustained progress have invested heavily in enhancing the stock of skills of its labor force by prioritizing early childhood quality education, training and provision of health care because investing in human capital raises productivity of workers due to upgraded skills and better education, empowers them with capacity for new ideas and innovations.
Again he said, “The concept of human capital is even more important for labour-surplus countries. These countries are naturally endowed with surplus labour due to high birth rate. For example, the surplus labour in China, India, Brazil and Nigeria far outweigh the physical capital such as machinery, plant and equipment. This human resource can be transformed into human capital via education, training, and improved health care delivery.”
Human capital, he further said, “Provides the resources for the development and deepening of other areas of intellectual assets such as research/development, and training.
It is interesting to note how China transformed its raw labour into human capital.
The population, which was a burden and major cause of China’s underdevelopment in the early stage of its independence, has become a valuable asset since 1980.
The truth is, accelerations in technology require countries, such as ours, to urgently invest in our people if we hope to compete in the economy of the future…We need to tailor our educational system to meet developmental needs of the nation.
One of the steps is to change Schools’ Curricular to one, which should focus on developing creativity and skills of students.
Young people cannot shape a future befitting them and their nation without being provided with incentives for learning.
Fortunately, the current administration has declared an emergency on the educational sector and more funds are being allocated towards education.”