Nigeria’s effort at attracting investments from Vietnam must be focused on the empowerment of manufacturers to industrialise their processes and output, Alaba Ogunsanwo, a professor of political science and keynote speaker at the second quarterly business meeting of Nigeria-Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said. He said this was necessary to enable the country develop its non-oil sector to a point of making significant contribution to its total export revenue.
Ogunsanwo, also a diplomat, said the idea of refining local agricultural produce for export may not be sustainable, considering that international trade partners, like the Vietnam, are ahead on the
industrialisation ladder, with 52 percent of Vietnam’s export being manufactured products, including what is sent to Nigeria.
“To urge cooperation in investment in terms of enterprises is one thing. The other is to say that investment that comes from Vietnam to Nigeria should not just be investment that makes it possible to refine some agricultural products and sell them abroad but investment that will help Nigeria’s industrialisation. For Nigeria, we are not there.
Nigeria earned from its export $40.8 billion; 94 percent of that was earned through oil and gas, making the non-oil sector an insignificant contributor,” he said as he addressed the theme,”Facing the 4th Industrial Revolution, Nigeria/Vietnam in a Digitalising World”.
According to the Ogunsanwo, its difficult to compete favouravly with countries that have experienced the first, second, third and the current fourth industrial revolution, but Nigeria can leapfrog these phases if adequate attention is paid to the development of infrastructure, education as well as adoption of technology.
Similarly, Pat Utomi, a professor of political economy, submitted that issue of science, technology, education and mathematics (STEM) cannot be underplayed if Nigeria would leapfrog the previous phases of industrialisation, as the opportunities for development lie in them.
” I think what we need is a major STEM champion to facilitate this, working through various institutions. Primary education is very important, even more than university education because its the
foundation and if you can get a few champions to introduce STEM-base, to use technology to improve digital quality, so that our young people will be properly equipped for the future, we can get things truly going in the direction that they should go,” he said.
Jonathan Coker, the chairman of the chamber’s board, on leveraging the digital market said: “We need to see a remarkable shift from our old ways of doing business in our normal practice of traveling long distances to buy and sell. I will wish to see a new dimension through joint partnership and robust partnership in each other’s ventures.”