Amb. Stuart Symington, U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, says Nigerians represent the real and sustainable wealth of their country, saying true leadership must showcase the people.
Symington made the remarks at the African Business Conference Plus 2018 with the theme: “Human Capital: The key to Africa’s Transformation” in Lagos. The conference was organised by the American Business Council (ABC) in partnership with the Lagos Business School (LBS). Experts task FG, others to give priority to human capital development Symington, in a statement by Mrs Margaret Olele, the Director-General, American Business Council (ABC), said that citizens were greatest resources of Nigeria, adding that without them, there would be no leader. “I am here to let you know the greatest resource of this nation.
As an ambassador, I have seen first hand the diversity of the nation as well as its potential. “The most successful people you will remember think in terms of people. Presidential candidates should speak substance now “Their value for people is what makes them stand out, that is why I strongly believe that the greatest resource for this nation is you,” he said. The ambassador said that the time was apt to scale up partnerships between U.S Companies and credible institutions like LBS, in order to improve vocational studies and requisite talents in areas that would enhance Africa’s growth. Similarly, Dr Lazarus Angbazo, the President, American Business Council, said that U.S companies operating in Nigeria were keen on training.
He said that they spent over N1.6 billion on training and development in 2017 from N340 million they spent in 2016. Angbazo, who is the Chief Executive Officer of General Electric (GE) in Nigeria, said that a recent talent survey carried out by the company showed a clear deficit in the area of Engineering profession. According to him, the study showed that about 4,600 talents were available in the Nigerian market for profession that needed over 14,000 talents. He said that GE and U.S Companies focussed on three key areas to drive innovation that would enhance human capital- education, localisation and digitalisation. “Innovation is indispensable for solving Africa’s challenges. Greater technical training is required for scalable and efficient solutions for the next generation,” Angbazo said. He called for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) focussed education that would unlock the growth of infrastructure in Nigeria and indeed Africa. Also, Mr Oscar Onyema, the Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Stock Exchange, said that human capital defines the rate of economic growth of a country via productivity and employment levels. Onyema said countries with low investment in human capital were typically less economically competitive, adding that most economies lagging behind have high rate of unemployment, especially amongst youths. Commenting, Dr Enase Okonedo, the Dean, LBS, said that the school was striving to ensure all participants in its programmes were developed into visionary leaders. Okonedo said that Nigerians have been known to possess real potential which was visible in the citizens.