6th Edition Of The Kaduna Investment And Economic Summit – KADINVEST 6.0

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Governor El-Rufai and I belong to an exclusive association; there are a few others represented from other parts of the country, distinguished men and women like the former chairman of our great party, APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the Hon. Minister of Labour, Mr. Emeka Ngige, and I bring you warm greetings from all these members of our association. Of course, I am the life chairman, and it is not because I am Vice President, it is because I am the tallest of them all (laughter).


Governor El-Rufai thank you very much for the kind invitation to join you at this 6th edition of the Kaduna Investment Summit or KadInvest. As you know, I follow your activities closely in Kaduna State because of the seriousness you have brought to sub-national governance.


Just listening to you, the rigour and innovation that you and your team have brought into policy formulation and implementation is an exemplar for what is possible in the States and indeed what is possible in the nation. You must also be commended for the consistency that has been a strong characteristic of your administration.




KadInvest has been held annually over the past 6 years and has evolved over time, from the launch of the Development Plan to the unveiling of the Kaduna Infrastructure Master Plan and the Urban Renewal Project. This Summit has become a platform not just to market Kaduna State, but Nigeria as a compelling business destination for investment.


I also must say that your efforts here are clearly positioned to benefit maximally from the critical infrastructure development that the President has committed himself to single-mindedly since the inception of our administration.


The construction of the AKK Pipeline will enable the ready availability of gas for power and industries in Kaduna, while the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano rail line and the Abuja-Kano Highway will ease the movement of people and goods.


For power, the Ministry of Power and the African Development Bank are working together to ensure that construction starts soon on the Mando to New Kano 330KV line enhancement, and of course, your efforts with Airtel on broadband connectivity expansion will benefit from our Economic Sustainability Plan and the Broadband Connectivity For All by 2023.


These Federal Government investments in this axis, complemented by the policies and investments of the Kaduna State Government, will catalyze an economic hub that will create millions of jobs and opportunities. I think you eloquently presented the case for Kaduna State as the economic hub for the future of job creation and the future of economic development not just here, but also across the country.


As you are aware, one of the key programmes in our ESP is the SolarPowerNaija aimed at providing 5million homes with electricity through solar systems and mini-grids.


In this particular regard, the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) is being repositioned to incubate local end-to-end Solar manufacturing and fabrication, given Nigeria’s large and growing demand for Solar panels. And I think there is room for synergy here also, with the remarkable work that the Kaduna State Government is doing with Blue Camel. From this project, we can see the street lights all around the city and here in Murtala Square, and also “Kaduna Built” solar street lights popping up everywhere, including in Yola, Jos, Owerri, Gombe amongst other places. I am sure that with what is happening, we may be at the cusp of developing a solid solar production supply chain right here in this State.


Permit me a word or two on the theme of this conference.  From last year’s theme of Infrastructure, Industrialization and Innovation to this year’s theme of Towards a Sustainable Knowledge-Based Economy”, there is a commendable steadiness of thought on the development pathway for this State.


Indeed, the focus today must be on developing a knowledge-based economy.  To briefly clarify the terminology, the knowledge economy really refers to how human capital, that is education and knowledge, can become productive assets or business products to be sold for profit.


This is simply the commercialization of intellectual capacity rather than natural resources or physical efforts/labour. So, for example, programmers developing new software and search engines for data, and health workers using digital data or algorithms to improve treatments, or FinTech companies using algorithms on mobile technology platforms to give un-collateralized loans and software applications. Digital solutions for agriculture to improve yields or more effectively manage farms; digital platforms that provide study aids and online courses for students and so on and so forth.


The trajectory of economic development has tended to be from agriculture and manufacturing and then to services and then as countries become wealthier, the knowledge economy becomes the main source of economic rewards. But the sheer versatility of technology today, it is possible to leapfrog and easier to do so from where we are to the knowledge economy.


Indeed, rather than go from stage to stage, the knowledge economy can enhance our performance and all the benefits from agriculture, manufacturing, and services.  Today, we are seeing faster computing speeds and cheaper products from a time when it was exciting to be able to store 256MB, we are now in an era in which most data storage is done on the “cloud” in Tera-Bytes. Libraries of millions of volumes can be stored and retrieved within seconds on the cloud.


Similarly, given the cost, it was not conceivable at a time to integrate batteries into electricity grids. Today, Tesla’s Megapack (battery) can provide up to 1-gigawatt hour as 1000 megawatts of power.


Here in Nigeria, youth-run digital businesses are also making great strides.  FinTech companies and other technology-enabled solutions are expanding so rapidly that the future of banking and financial services may not belong to banks or bankers as we know them today.


Companies like Paystack which was recently acquired for $200million, Kuda Bank, without a single physical branch, Prospa, another FinTech company revolutionizing banking for small businesses by tailoring banking and digital solutions. Eyowo which built the platform for TraderMoni and MarketMoni, are creating jobs and bringing in investment. Given these strides, Nigeria is now the technology investment destination in Sub-Saharan Africa.


We are also seeing the impact of disruptive technology in our critical agricultural sector. Tomato Jos, a processing facility which we will be commissioning today here in Kaduna with a capacity to produce tomato paste of 85 tonnes per day (another product of KADINVEST).


Tomato Jos is helping build a model for integration of processing and subsistence farming that can be scaled across the country to solve our perennial issue of producing raw materials without knowledge-based value addition.


Aside from Tomato Jos, there are many other innovative companies doing well in this technology space such as BabbanGona that provides training, financial credit, agricultural inputs, harvesting, and marketing support to smallholder farmers is also heavily technology-enabled. This bridge between smallholders and scalable agriculture is being executed with technology in a way that strengthens the smallholder farmer.


But we are very far indeed from where we ought to be, far from taking full advantage of our young people, especially the millions of young talents we have today.


The main problem is how to surmount the barriers to the knowledge economy. How do we surmount those barriers? The World Bank describes those barriers as the four pillars of the knowledge economy:


  1. Institutional structures that provide incentives for entrepreneurship and the use of knowledge;
  2. Availability of skilled labor and a good education system;
  3. Access to information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructures;
  4. A vibrant innovation landscape that includes academia, the private sector, and civil society.


The knowledge economy as the name implies is entirely dependent on intellectual capital, a workforce, and a talent pool that is educated, adaptable and dynamic – sound, relevant, practical, problem-solving, education.


Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math or STEM education is crucial. The curriculum being developed by the Federal Ministry of education, adds Arts to the combination of subjects, so the acronym is STEAM. The task here is major, developing an education system that would resource and support the knowledge economy from teacher training to acquiring technology and other equipment.


Clearly, we need effective planning. How do we create adequate resource capacity and capability? What will it take to train and equip enough Engineers, Technologists, Scientists, Doctors, and other products of STEM curricula to drive a knowledge-based economy?


Thankfully, we are not alone in this, as there are global shortages everywhere of technological talent. A recent analysis showed that the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning talent gap globally stands at 1.2 million resources, while there are only 650 thousand professionals employable in these roles.


The best OECD countries have 16 scientists/researchers per 1000 employees and spend 1 to 3% of GDP on Research and Development, where do we stand on that scale? How do we accelerate our progress?


With global gaps in talent, well-planned training programmes could even see Nigeria become a hub for critical technical talent and expertise. This was proven with the success of Andela Nigeria in developing and placing Software Engineering talent and can be replicated across a broader range of STEM disciplines.


Some ideas that can be explored include support for on-the-job tailored training to accelerate talent development and augment conventional schooling. For example, I understand Blue Camel has a solar Installation training facility on its industrial campus where it trains hundreds of students a year. Also, the curricula in training programmes could have a standard knowledge set that must be learned prior to specialization. These standard principles should support mobility of talent across jobs (to adapt to changes) in a knowledge-based economy.


I think the Kashim Ibrahim Fellowship, which the Kaduna State government initiated a few years ago, which exposes Fellows to thought leaders and experts, and to practical experience through rotational job programmes and community service is also an example of the type of initiatives needed to create and train a high caliber talent pool for the knowledge-based future and needs to be expanded and replicated all over the country. It is also worthy of note that though it is conceived and sponsored by the Kaduna State Government, it is open to all qualifying Nigerians who live anywhere in the country.


Before I close, let me salute the progress and the near completion of Galaxy Mall, the groundbreaking ceremony of which I attended some time back. I am looking forward to walking through the relocated site today just as I am equally pleased to be going to Kasuwan Magani to see the great work that the Kaduna Markets Development and Management Company has done in repositioning the market.


I also want to see the Solar Power Plant built for the market through the Rural Electrification Fund and its impact on the beneficiaries. I understand there will be a visit to the Dangote Peugeot Automobile Nigeria (DPAN) factory tomorrow as part of KADINVEST and I must say that we look forward to the completion of the project and the return of automobile production in Kaduna.


There is so much going on and so much to talk about so I must again commend Governor, Nasir El-Rufai for brilliant innovations but more importantly, for sticking to the plan. Also, the Deputy Governor, Hajiya Balarabe Ismail, the State Executive Council, the Executive Secretary for KADIPA (Hajiya Umma Aboki), and the organizing team for KADINVEST for their great work, including successfully organizing this exciting Investment Summit.


Let me reiterate that the Federal Government will support and encourage your efforts every step of the way and we are committed as much as it is possible, to providing a stable and predictable macroeconomic and business environment, providing infrastructure, and ensuring security.  For we do realize that in addition to kinetic interventions, jobs and social protection are vital for security and sustainable development.  We are making accelerated efforts to enhance security across the country and in this region particularly, especially working with the State Governors in many of the worst affected States.


God bless Kaduna State and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.


Thank you very much.



Indeed, rather than go from stage to stage, the knowledge economy can enhance our performance and all the benefits from agriculture, manufacturing, and services.  Today, we are seeing faster computing speeds and cheaper products from a time when it was exciting to be able to store 256MB, we are now in an era in which most data storage is done on the “cloud” in Tera-Bytes. Libraries of millions of volumes can be stored and retrieved within seconds on the cloud.