Africa Can Leapfrog Many Phases of Development With Innovation, Technology —Osinbajo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo
Africa can leapfrog or skip many phases of development with innovation and technology, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said.
Osinbajo communicated this on Thursday at the Calestous Juma Innovation Colloquium organised by the Africa Institute for Leadership and Public Administration at the Arthur Mbanefo Digital Research Centre, University of Lagos(UNILAG), themed: “Africa’s New Culture of Innovation.”
Calestous Juma was a Professor of the Practice of International Development at the Harvard Kennedy School, US.
The vice president said that Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country would become the 4th most populous nation in the world.
“Over 50 per cent of that number will be young persons under the age of 25; today 60 per cent of the unemployed in Africa are young people. The implications for social upheaval are clear; climate change poses special concerns, especially desertification, the drying up of the Lake Chad and its implications for lives and livelihoods that depend on the lake”.
“The challenges of Healthcare delivery and education for a large population have led to the worst human development indices in the world. But these challenges have peaked at an auspicious time; a time when technology and innovation have begun to disrupt older and slower ways of achieving results”.
“And for Africa a time when its young innovators, digital scientists and creatives have emerged with incredible creativity and resourcefulness. There is no question that Africa’s future will be determined by innovation. With innovation and technology Africa will skip or leapfrog over many phases of development that other continents had to go through.”
He said that Nigerian and African innovators had creditably acquitted themselves in areas of telecom, agriculture, healthcare, power, among others.
According to him, Africa is leading the way in a new way of thinking, as innovators figure out how to produce power in situ. He said that new storage technologies also meant power was going to be portable for Africans.
Osinbajo said that as part of efforts to diversify power sources and improve access, Nigeria started a programme of providing solar power in 20,000 homes in rural villages.
“We started in Wuna a village just outside Abuja. Wuna is an agrarian community. It is not on the national grid, and had no other source of power. To charge their phones an entrepreneur with a small generator runs a service”.
“You take your phone to his shop once a day or so, you pay a small fee for charging. Life in Wuna shuts down at about 7 p.m. until daylight. But Working with a PPP model. The government owned NDPHC partnered with Azuri technology a private solar company to provide a domestic solar solution”.
Azuri had provided the same end to end service in the East Africa. A solar home system, including a payment system; the Solar equipment cost N1,900 a month ( about 5-6 pounds a month)”.
“Every home had one mounted on their roof. For the first time in its existence the village now has running water solar powered; the school has power. The school hall is now used as a community hall in the evenings. Each home has 4 points of light,” he said.
Osinbajo said that children could stay up and do some studying at night as many of Wuna’s women could process their millet and yams at night.
He said that mew jobs had been created for , solar installers, maintenance, and management of the payment system.
Osinbajo said that on a much larger scale, the Federal Goverent had facilitated private solar power supply to markets across Nigeria, using new extra powered lithium cells.
He listed some of the markets as Sabongari market Kano, Sura market in Lagos, in Ibadan, and Isikan and two other markets in Ondo state.
Earlier, Director of the Institute, Yemi Cardoso, said that Juma, who died in Dec. 2017, was full of humanity and humour.
He said that Juma, who was originally from Kenya, designed a course– Technology Innovation on Entrepreneurship in Africa–specifically for Africa.
Cardoso said that Africa Institute, a world class institute determined to promote governance and build society, was inspired by the thinking of Juma. Some former Juma’s students at Harvard also paid glowing tributes to the scholar(NAN)