President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday asked African leaders to tailor their educational system and academic curricular towards Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in order to enable Africa achieve full industrialization by the year 2030.
The President gave the advice in his National Statement on Friday in Niamey, the capital of Niger Republic, at the AU Summit on Industrialisation and Economic Diversification in Africa.
Buhari, who set out priorities on how Africa could achieve full industrialisation, stressed that STEM remained the ”short way” to produce the next generation of managers of an industrialised Africa not dependent on expatriates.”
The President urged leaders on the continent to solve the problem of generating cheap and clean energy, saying ”it is no secret that we cannot industrialise the continent, if we do not solve the problem of generating cheap and clean energy.”
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”Your Excellencies, energy generation and distribution is an enabler for industrialisation. Africa is richly endowed with multiple sources of energy generation. We are richly endowed with Hydro-Carbons, Coal, Natural Gas, Solar Energy, and Hydro- Energy.
”Yet we are lacking in the capacity to produce clean and cheap electricity to power our production, manufacturing sectors.
”I hope this Summit will afford us the opportunity to explore the possibilities of collaboration in pooling resources on a continental level to address the vexing problem of energy generation and distribution on the continent….
”Your Excellencies, the African Continent is blessed with a large Youth population that can address our labour shortages. Therefore, we should tap this human resource potential that abound in the continent by providing our youths with qualitative and fit for purpose education that recognises the labour market demands.”
President Buhari, in a statement issued by his media aide, Malam Garba Shehu, also told the AU summit that the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement would give impetus to the continent’s quest for an industrial revolution.
He expressed the belief that the outcome of the summit would launch the African continent on the path to poverty eradication, food security and technological advancement, issues not far from the goals set out in the AU Agenda 2063 and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
He told African leaders that industrialization and diversification of economies remained the keys and engine to unlock economic growth and build a prosperous continent.
According to President Buhari, Nigeria has continued to diversify its economy, shifting from the traditional oil-based economy to a multi-sectoral economy.
He said the country is investing heavily in Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises supporting small business and start-ups in innovation and Hi-Tech as well as IT.
On health issues, the President acknowledged that one of the lessons learnt from the outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Africa as well as Nigeria was the lack of preparedness to respond to such outbreaks and shocks.
He, however, expressed delight that in the wake of the Covid-19 Pandemic, Nigeria along with five other African Countries were selected as vaccine hubs for the local production of mRNA Vaccines by the World Health Organisation, and to receive the technology needed to produce Vaccines.
He said Nigeria is exploring bilateral, multilateral and other opportunities to acquire the necessary technology needed to create a centre of excellence for Vaccine manufacturing and distribution in the country.
Buhari, therefore, restated his call on partners to consider working with Nigeria on the entire value chain of vaccine technology development in the continent.