Knowledge Economy: How ICT, digital revolution can transform Nigeria’s public sector ─Experts

*Dons at the University of Ibadan, say proliferation of universities across the country is not the answer to developing a knowledge economy, but adequate funding of the existing ones to the world-class level, as ‘the future is here and the competition will be knowledge-based’

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

In this era of knowledge economy, rooted in innovative strategies and new capabilities, enhanced Research and Development (R&D), and adequate funding of the Nigerian Universities into the world-class level will enable the society to benefit, as “the future is here and the competition will be knowledge-based.”

ConsumerConnect learnt S. Ibi Ajayi, a don and Professor of Economics at the University of Ibadan (UI), in Nigeria, has advocated the country should begin to create an emerging environment for knowledge delivery and develop a knowledge economy by spending appropriately on Research and Development (R&D).

The knowledge economy is “a system of consumption and production that is based on intellectual capital.

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“In particular, it refers to the ability to capitalise on scientific discoveries and basic and applied research.”

The concept is said to represent a large component of all economic activity in most developed countries of the world.

The Professor of Economics stated this development as the keynote speaker at the maiden three-day International Conference on Humanities, Management and Social Sciences (DUICHMSS), of the Dominican University, Ibadan (DUI), held recently at the Tom and Carolyn Walker Hall of the institution, Nigerian Tribune report said.

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The theme of the hybrid international conference, attended both physically and virtually, was “Innovative Strategies and Capabilities for Adapting to the New Normal.”

According to Prof. Ajayi, the proliferation of universities across Nigeria is not the answer to developing a knowledge economy, but adequate funding of the existing ones to the world-class level to enable the society to benefit, adding that “the future is here and the competition will be knowledge-based.”

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On the theme of the conference, he noted that in the long run, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis had provided an opportunity for Africa to transform itself, build institutions, diversify its economy, and address structural bottlenecks, some of which, Ajayi noted, had been crying for attention for years, but ignored by successive administrations in Nigeria.

Workers in a digitalised office in Lagos    Photo: Eachother.Org.Uk

The academic, nevertheless, acknowledged that COVID-19 broke out in the West African country at a worst time when Nigeria was still grappling with the problem of poverty and inequity, unemployment of graduates of tertiary institutions, decayed infrastructure and the menace of insecurity, kidnapping and banditry.

While recommending that leveraging on technology is key in this era of the New Normal, Ajayi stated that the faster adoption could lead to an expansion of access to finance, as well as creating new economic opportunities.

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He as well stressed “there is no doubt that the digital revolution can transform the public sector.

“What is seen around the world is a switch of programmes from in-kind and cash delivery to digital delivery, direct to people’s bank account and shown on their phones.”

According to him, Nigeria could not make progress unless it became innovative, adding that “Nigeria must live into and beyond the 21st century. Good leadership can lead us to the land of our dreams.”

Similarly, Prof. Oyelakin Awobode, Director of Special Investigation and Deputy Auditor- General for Local Government, in Oyo State, in his address as the Special Guest of Honour at the conference, said  that the emergence of COVID 19 had brought a new world order.

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Prof. Awobode also admitted that the world at large is changing and growing at a faster pace with the help of a high digital Information Technology.

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“If we must adapt to the New Normal, we must increase our learning ability, in technology, artificial intelligence (AI), emotional intelligence (EI), and other technological innovations in all the sectors of the nation.”

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Earlier, in his welcome address, the Vice-Chancellor of UI, had noted that part of the University aspiration as an academic community is to be a universe of knowledge to study human existence from the various provinces, fields and subject speculations; hence, the rationale for the international conference on Humanities, Management and Social Sciences, report said.

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