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Since detonating Nigeria’s poverty, unemployment bomb requires fresh ideas, how far can Buhari, Atiku go?

By Akanimo Sampson on 28/10/2018

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•President Buhari and PDP Presidential Candidate Atiku
•President Buhari and PDP Presidential Candidate Atiku

It has been loudly said that unemployment is one of the major issues affecting Nigeria’s economy and its society. And for those who know better, the rate of unemployment has increased during last few years due the fallout from the economic challenges thrown up by the incumbent administration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) under President Muhammadu Buhari’s watch.

At the moment, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) to end extreme poverty by 2030 is not likely to be met in Nigeria except an unusual miracle happens.

A stuning report by The World Poverty Clock shows that the supposed giant of Africa has overtaken India as the country with the most extreme poor people in the world. India has a population seven times larger than Nigeria’s. The struggle to lift more citizens out of extreme poverty is an indictment on successive Nigerian governments which have mismanaged the country’s vast oil riches through incompetence and corruption.

The about 90 million Nigerians living in extreme poverty in a country of around 190 million people, is not certainly a cherry news by any economic measurement. This is happening as the country is facing a major population boom. Going by some forecasts, Nigeria is likely to become the world’s third largest country by 2050. This is why recruiting a capable leader through the instrumentality of the 2019 Presidential election, is crucial to salvage the problem.

At the moment, President Buhari of the APC and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) appear to be the front runners for the 2019 Presidency. The duo are quite aware of the mess the country is in. Beyond mere rhetorics, how prepared are they to tackle the menace of extreme poverty and growing unemployment head on?

Channelling investment into economic activities to propel countries like Nigeria, to achieve the SDGs requires new ideas for concrete solutions, while technology must not be feared, speakers said at a meeting on the first day of the United Nations Conference on Trade And Development’s (UNCTAD) World Investment Forum on Monday, October 22.

The Global Investment Game Changers Summit featured pioneers, leaders and visionaries who have successfully remodelled existing business and industry practices to create innovative business models that foster economic success and sustainable objectives.

The debate kicked off with a look at the business case for investing in green and clean technology as one part of the sustainable development scenario.

“Companies have clearly seen the risks and opportunities of green technologies,” Barbara Kux, a former member of the managing board of industrial conglomerate Siemens, said. “My experience with Phillips, and then Siemens, was to position green technology as a business opportunity.”

Finding ways to boost sustainable businesses in developing countries was another plank of development, speakers said, with the spotlight turning to e-commerce opportunities.

Juliet Anammah, chief executive officer of e-commerce giant Jumia Nigeria, said building trust among consumers and bringing down the cost of entry to technological solutions was vital in African markets.

Trust is also an issue in the adoption of artificial intelligence, David Hanson, founder and chief executive officer of Hanson Robotics said. His solution is to build humanoid artificial interfaces. Tadahiro Kawada, chief executive officer of Japanese civil engineering group Kawada Technologies, said his company was already working with humanoid robots because the Japanese workforce was shrinking.

Hanson allayed fears that robots will replace people and said that automation spurs economies and creates more jobs than it destroys. But there may well be a displacement effect, he said, especially for young people.

Beyond job creation, Alexandra ‘Santu’ Boëtius, co-founder of Impact Hub Geneva and head of Accelerate 2030, said young people hold the key to the future and their contribution to resolving the Sustainable Development Goals was critical.

Ms. Anammah said e-commerce could be a potent driver of prosperity in developing countries because it spurs entire “eco-systems” of interrelated steps forward in laws, logistics and infrastructure. Mr. Kawada agreed that technology was a job creator, mentioning examples of technological change in the past such as the replacement of horses by automobiles.

The panellists all agreed that the full participation of women in the global workforce including in creating and running new businesses would be the single most powerful “gamechanger” in the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals and human prosperity and progress in general.

Sophia, a well-known humanoid robot named the world’s first United Nations Innovation Champion by the United Nations Development Programme, also participated in the summit. UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi held a mock interview with it at the start of the session.

Source News Express

Posted 28/10/2018 7:07:13 PM


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