Nigeria must build capacities to attain economic transformation, says expert

Senior Special Adviser to the President of Africa Development Bank (AfDB), Prof Oyebanji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, has advocated that Nigeria and other African countries must embark on building and developing national productive capability to attain economic transformation.

Oyelaran- Oyeyinka, who is also a development economist, stated this while delivering a lecture titled: “Building innovation capabilities for economic transformation in a post-pandemic world”, at the maiden NigeriaLics conference hosted by the University of Lagos (UNILAG).

He lamented that 60 years after independence, Nigeria has failed to live up to the expectations and dreams of its founding fathers, stressing that the country must begin to develop national productive capabilities.

The don blamed the approaches adopted by successive African leaders as the reason for the stunted developmental efforts of individual countries.

Oyelaran-Oyeyinka said unfortunately much as learning is key in research, most of the research endeavours in the continent do not address the immediate needs of the communities.

“The failure to properly diversify the economies made most poor countries suffer hardships during the pandemic. All mineral-dependent economies suffered the most during the outbreak of COVID-19,” he said.

The senior special adviser stated that the Nigerian and the Korean steel manufacturing sectors that commenced about the same year have become a sad, tale, while the Korean sector in 25 years now generates over 60 billion dollars and created about 65,000 jobs in contrast to Ajaokuta, which he described as a tragedy and monumental failure.

He charged Nigerian leaders to first build the rules, establish manufacturing and innovation capabilities because those form the basis for global competitive advantage and reckoning.

The Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos, Professor Folasade Ogunsola, represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Development Service, Professor Ayodele Atsenuwa, said UNILAG management is prepared to offer a model on how to grow ideas and innovations into tangible developmental policies. That, she said, can be done through coordination, harnessing and concise delivery as against the old system where research outputs are left at the paper level.

Earlier, Secretary General, NigeriaLics, Prof. Opeyemi E. Ayinde, said the overall vision of NigeriaLics is to facilitate the production and use of high-quality research in the field of innovation and development, with a view to promoting inclusive and sustainable development in Nigeria.

Ayinde added that NigeriaLics seeks to provide a platform for collaboration between researchers, policy-makers, and practitioners across the country.

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