I want to thank the organisers of this Dokpesi @ 70 occasion for inviting me as visitor speaker. I want to congratulate Dr Raymond Dokpesi on the attainment of this landmark age. For the years forward, I pray and want him massive doses of fine well being and happiness.
Distinguished women and gents, I think about it an honour to share this platform with notable audio system and thank the organisers for the chance to be a part of a gathering highlighting issues of far-reaching consequence to Nigeria.
One definition describes Know-how merely as the appliance of scientific information for sensible functions. Know-how has been on the coronary heart of the event of societies for the reason that daybreak of time. From the invention of fireside to the invention of the wheel; the interior combustion engine to electrical energy and the phone; to the web and the rising areas of synthetic intelligence; expertise as you recognize, adjustments the way in which we work together, how we commerce and do enterprise, how we’re entertained and the way we perceive the world round us.
That world is at the moment experiencing a interval of intense innovation. Innovation pushed by the digitisation of economies. Clearly, one of many classes of historical past is that it’s these nations that lead the event of latest expertise, or new pondering, that emerge as leaders on the earth. They’re nations that may harness developments in science and expertise, and apply them to most of the social, financial and environmental challenges that face mankind.
In discussing the function that expertise can play in driving Nigeria’s improvement, you will need to state that the nation has the expertise and alternative to turn out to be a pacesetter within the improvement and the appliance of expertise. Be aware that I’ve not stated that expertise is the lacking hyperlink, as a result of it could be appropriate to say that it’s not fully lacking in Nigeria.
Due to this fact, for the remainder of my presentation I wish to modify the subject to learn “Insufficient Know-how Infrastructure: The Bane of Nigeria’s Growth.” This can allow us to focus our minds on the issues that go away us lagging behind many different nations. Additionally as a result of, in all probability embedded within the minds of the organisers of this lecture is a want that quick options could be discovered and put it in place timeously to speed up the nation’s improvement.
Let’s think about some stats. The World Financial Discussion board report, 2011- 2012, by way of the standard of total infrastructure, ranked Nigeria at 125 out of 142 nations, with a worth of three.0 (1.3 beneath the imply worth). As compared, Cameroon was ranked at 122 and Ghana at 90. Relating to highway high quality, Nigeria was ranked at 120, with port infrastructure at 117, railroad high quality at 104 and air transport high quality at 104. Nigeria was additionally ranked at 139 out of 142 nations by way of the standard of electrical energy provide, with a worth of 1.5 (3.3 beneath the imply worth). These rankings have remained largely unchanged as of 2020.
Vital infrastructures are foundational expertise companies, software program, gear, services, and buildings upon which the capabilities of countries, cities and organizations are constructed.
I wish to develop on 5 essential areas that would facilitate attainment of the specified improvement that the nation wants, specifically, Know-how Infrastructure for Training, Transportation, Power/Energy, Water and Communication.
Know-how in Training.
In keeping with the US Workplace of Instructional Know-how, the important parts of infrastructure able to supporting transformational studying experiences, aside from bodily buildings and related furnishings, embody the next:
• Ubiquitous connectivity. Persistent entry to high-speed Web out and in of faculty
• Highly effective studying gadgets. Entry to cellular gadgets together with computer systems that join learners and educators to the huge sources of the Web and facilitate communication and collaboration
• Excessive-quality digital studying content material. Digital studying content material and instruments that can be utilized to design and ship partaking and related studying experiences
• Accountable Use Insurance policies (RUPs). Tips to safeguard college students and make sure that the infrastructure is used to assist studying and never for nefarious pursuits.
Constructing a sturdy infrastructure for studying begins with an understanding of the targets and desired outcomes that assist partaking and empowering studying experiences. When primarily based on studying targets, expertise infrastructure choices turn out to be clear.
Getting ready college students to achieve success for the long run requires a sturdy and versatile studying infrastructure able to supporting new varieties of engagement and offering ubiquitous entry to the expertise instruments that enable college students to create, design, and discover. This want grew to become amplified within the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic final 12 months.
We should due to this fact discover methods to design, fund, purchase, and preserve the infrastructure that can make connectivity a actuality for each instructor and each scholar in all studying environments.
Know-how in transportation
Transportation infrastructure are foundational buildings and techniques for transporting individuals and items. It’s a advanced community that connects city, semi city and rural areas for varied human pursuits. Moreover, transportation networks contribute to socioeconomic improvement and elevated high quality of life by means of producing inter- or intra-city connections. Environment friendly transportation infrastructure is a essential issue for nationwide financial improvement.
Conventional transport infrastructure contains roads, railways, airports, bridges, tunnels and waterways. Transportation infrastructure in Nigeria nonetheless leaves rather a lot to be desired. Most of inter-state and inter-city roads stay in disrepair. Using fashionable expertise within the roll-out of Highway Transportation infrastructure to scale back site visitors congestion and its related prices will work higher if the roads are in good situation.
For sensor-laden autonomous automobiles of the long run, which can even talk wirelessly with one another and to the broader web of issues to smoothen site visitors stream, effectively deliberate and well-built roads are crucial. Secondly, massive volumes of knowledge transmitted by these applied sciences would require the excessive bandwidth and low latency of fifth era (5G) wi-fi expertise, in addition to synthetic intelligence that may analyze the information and anticipate future site visitors dangers for city planners. (ref. Brookings Report on Good transportation).
The federal authorities’s latest growth of railway infrastructure together with extending the rails to the seaports, is a transfer in the appropriate path. Nonetheless, rather a lot nonetheless must be executed. Some heavy income producing routes such because the direct east-west rail route have to be executed. Rail transportation stays essentially the most reliable mode of transport in comparison with different modes of transport if effectively deliberate. It’s economical, faster and finest fitted to carrying heavy and ponderous items over lengthy
distances. Though railway transport has many benefits, it suffers from sure severe limitations resembling large capital outlay and could also be unsuitable for brief distance and small hundreds.
Know-how in vitality/energy
The vitality sector encompasses the Oil and Gasoline in addition to the Energy subsectors. The large contribution of down-stream Oil & Gasoline to nationwide revenues and their potential to drive financial progress within the nation, undoubtedly make it probably the most necessary sectors to Nigeria, due to its multiplier impact throughout all sectors of the economic system. Nigeria nonetheless imports many of the gas which it consumes, regardless of having massive reserves of fuel and oil. The present low common refining capability of Nigeria’s 4 refineries compared to Nigeria’s wants for refined petroleum merchandise for home makes use of, like cooking, powering machines and automobiles, and so forth. highlights a few of the challenges within the sector; particularly the necessity to enhance capability utilization of the refineries and enhance upkeep tradition typically. Issues are nonetheless wanting up with the Dangote refinery underneath building and the deliberate rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refinery.
The impact of poor infrastructure is most evident within the Nigerian energy sector the place whole output at the moment stands between 3,500 MW and 5,000 MW for a inhabitants of over 200 million individuals, as in opposition to South Africa with about 50 million individuals and a complete energy output at about 60,000MW, principally from coal-fired energy stations.
Public grid Electrical energy in Nigeria is generated from hydro, thermal energy and, of latest, fuel fired vegetation. As a result of energy shortages, the industrial and industrial sectors typically depend upon privately operated diesel- or gas- powered turbines to self-supply electrical energy. Nigeria has in plentiful provide of many of the vitality sources (fossil fuels, hydro, photo voltaic, tidal, geothermal, and biomass) for energy era. If correctly harnessedand deployed, they’ll meet the nation’s vitality wants and even generate export income. At the moment, nonetheless, Nigeria’s per capita electrical energy era is among the many lowest on the earth, limiting financial progress and productiveness as a result of its unfavourable impression on value of doing enterprise in virtually all sectors of the economic system.
To realize the targets and goals of the Power sector, Nigeria wants to extend its funding in vitality infrastructure. Maybe the best want right this moment will likely be accelerating the development of fuel pipeline infrastructure to ship fuel to the essential areas of want, particularly the brand new NIPPs. Barring any setbacks, some EPC contracts awarded by NNPC in 2018 for 614km fuel pipelines initiatives will assist remedy a few of the issues when accomplished.
Know-how in water
Nigerians derive their water from floor water, hand dug wells, rain harvesting, pipe borne water and boreholes. In keeping with an unbiased research in 2009, roughly half of the inhabitants depend on shallow wells, that are susceptible to contamination. Water provide due to this fact stays a big downside in Nigeria. Difficulties embody insufficient or non-existing water infrastructure, the contaminating results of trade and the problematic nature of each the electrical energy provide (which might intrude with the correct functioning of water works) and the sanitation infrastructure.
It’s expertise that permits water from a river or sea to be purified and piped to far places of human habitation. Know-how can even be required for the metering of the water and billing of the customers the place fascinating.
The water sub sector must be considerably revamped and upgraded.
Communication and data expertise
Strong ICT networks are necessary for the financial progress of countries and represent a base infrastructure that helps the world economic system. It’s critical for enhancing dwelling requirements and enhancing productiveness and effectivity in different sectors. Thus, with out communications and the applied sciences that assist it, nations and companies would turn out to be much less aggressive and lag behind others. It’s the infrastructure of infrastructures.
The progress made within the coverage and total regulatory atmosphere has been a key driver for enabling wanted funding and growth of ICT infrastructure within the nation.
Plenty of Nigerians are concerned within the expertise revolution globally, and a few of them are making use of that functionality right here, to native challenges, and to native alternatives.
And a few of the alternatives are really game-changing. Have a look at the unimaginable strides our fintech ecosystem has taken over the past decade. Would any of us right this moment have envisaged a start-up expertise firm exceeding the worth of a industrial financial institution inside 5 years of conception? However it’s taking place, and it’s taking place throughout a number of sectors.
Non-public capital has been interested in the sector and with new revolutionary merchandise constantly being launched, the sector has turn out to be very vibrant and lively and at the moment represents the sector with highest contribution to the nationwide GDP.
Women and gents, the Web is a elementary instrument for the data age and along with different latest technological developments, has the potential to assist bridge the event hole between the superior and fewer superior nations of the world.
The web penetration within the nation nonetheless stays restricted in scope as a result of bottlenecks related to right-of-way challenges at state and native authorities ranges. There should due to this fact be a concerted effort by all to get everybody on-line and allow individuals to have entry to communications infrastructure of 1 kind or the opposite.
It’s now time to name on political leaders and workplace holders to measure their success from what number of of their residents have entry to high-speed broadband web. Quoting from an ITU publication: “if info is energy, then the web have to be the simplest method of empowering people who have historically been left behind.”
To satisfy its present infrastructure wants in all sectors, Nigeria should aggressively enhance funding and spending in infrastructure. That is particularly difficult contemplating that different necessary sectors of the economic system are additionally competing for the restricted sources accessible to authorities. Moreover, upkeep prices will develop proportionately as infrastructure inventory will increase. This can clearly put extra strain on Authorities finances if Infrastructure procurement and upkeep continues to go the route of full Authorities funding.
To realize the specified infrastructure funding ranges that can function the catalyst for Nigeria’s financial transformation, different financing preparations apart from Authorities budgetary provisions should proceed to be explored and employed. Non-public sector participation within the provision of infrastructure is inevitable since it’s clear that Governments alone can’t afford these large monetary prices.
Consequently, Public Non-public Partnerships (PPPs) have turn out to be essentially the most broadly used car for accelerating sustainable infrastructure progress for socio-economic transformation of society each within the developed and growing economies. In Britain for instance, the system was launched in 1992 and since then a number of bodily and social infrastructures have been developed by means of it. In Nigeria PPPs may also help unlock authorities’s restricted capital budgets to give attention to different key priorities, resembling offering extra fundamental well being care, training, and social safety-net companies to Nigerians.
Simply 10 days in the past, on the Mid-Time period Ministerial Efficiency Assessment Retreat, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Growth Financial institution Group, additionally reiterated that “Infrastructure is essential for unlocking the total potential of Nigeria’s economic system” and that “Nigeria will want $15 billion a 12 months for funding in infrastructure.”
PPPs have traditionally centered on bodily infrastructure parts. For instance, the latest initiative for Highway Infrastructure Tax Credit (RITC) for personal sector funding in infrastructure is already yielding the specified outcomes and quite a few corporations together with MTN Nigeria have keyed into it. All efforts have to be made to make sure that it’s sustained.
PPPs are additionally more and more being employed by governments around the globe in key social sectors resembling well being, training, housing, sports activities services and even public security and emergency companies resembling Prisons, police and hearth companies.
I used to be fearful once I was scripting this paper as a result of many research previously have articulated what wanted to be executed as a rustic. The imaginative and prescient 20:2020 doc which was launched in 2009 had envisaged that Nigeria could be one of many first 20 economies on the earth by the 12 months 2020. Why had been the lofty beliefs of this imaginative and prescient not achieved? An analyst, one Ayo Olukotun, in an article likened the audacious purpose to a “stunning architectural drawing that signaled the chances of utopia, bereft, nonetheless, of exact or vital steps in the direction of laying a basis, a lot much less, constructing the proposed edifice”.
Additionally, in 2014 the Authorities of Nigeria requested the African Growth Financial institution (AfDB) to organize a report on the state of infrastructure within the nation. The Financial institution accepted this request and produced the Flagship Report entitled, “An Infrastructure Motion Plan for Nigeria: Closing the Infrastructure Hole and Accelerating Financial Transformation.” This was cognizant of the truth that, coverage actions and funding in infrastructure have necessary roles to play in Nigeria’s financial transformation.
The massive query due to this fact is why these and different good plans haven’t been efficiently applied. Maybe there are different components that contribute negatively to Nigeria’s Growth aside from insufficient Know-how Infrastructure. One which instantly involves thoughts is corruption. The second is the incompetence of the nation’s managers in essential management positions. I’m not referring right here to the elected officers as a result of, it’s only the voters which have the appropriate to decide on their leaders. I communicate of these appointed to move varied essential establishments and companies. Nobody can provide what he/she doesn’t have. In Nigeria we appoint medical docs/CMDs by quota, Vice Chancellors by state of origin, we choose air power pilots by quota, even appoint science and arithmetic academics by quota.
Now we have witnessed large successes each time we’ve got competent individuals manning delicate and significant positions within the nation. Once we get it proper with appointment of competent, daring and dedicated manpower, our improvement plans would have higher probabilities of being efficiently executed.
Distinguished women and gents, in closing, I will likely be proper in stating that just about everybody on this corridor will agree that we’ve got severe expertise infrastructure deficit in Nigeria which is negatively affecting our tempo of improvement as a nation. What might not be apparent to everyone seems to be how unhealthy the state of affairs is. The impression of infrastructure inefficiencies in Nigeria has been extreme and has lasted for a number of a long time and is mirrored in impaired home progress, poor worldwide competitiveness, and slowed charge of improvement.
I hope that we’ve got been sensitized sufficiently right this moment to turn out to be sturdy advocates for change. We have to work collectively to create world class situations for innovation, expertise improvement and catalysing personal sector funding. Simply because it has been executed in telecoms and fintech, we will additionally do it throughout the board.
I pray that all of us get severe as a nation and make the change occur.
Engr Ernest Ndukwe, former government vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Fee and now, chairman, MTN, Nigeria, delivered this paper on the Dokpesi seventieth birthday anniversary lecture.