Techno-Economic Development: Nigeria in Perspective. (Part 1)
By Jawolusi Oluwaseun
Keywords: Sustainable Development, Competitive Advantage, Green Technologies, Research-oriented Education, Industrialization, Curriculum Reform, Technology Transfer.
Conventionally, education is a viable human capacity-builder for a sustainable industrial development of any Nation questing for advancement. It goes without saying that the level of scientific/technological development is one of the yardsticks to evaluate the economic well-being of a State. Today, most of the developed nations around the world are being characterized by their export-led economies with respect to the maximization of their distinct competitive advantages – most especially the ones that are known for knowledge-driven global economies. In the recurring processes of disputing the viability of capitalism in fostering economic success of a State: the roles of Government can never be underestimated, most especially in making timely reforms for the pivotal sectors of the economy and instrumentalizing favourable policies for the actors and for the markets through different legislative tools and political orders.
The Advent of Green Technologies:
Most developed countries are currently phasing out the usage of internal combustion engines with the adoption of an eco-friendly mode of energy/power generation. As recently reported by CNN: “Norway is leading the way. About 40% of all cars sold in the country last year were electric or hybrid vehicles. The government’s transportation plan outlines a clear target. All new passenger cars and vans sold in 2025 should be zero-emission vehicles.” Theoretically, this gesture is aimed at actualizing the Goal 13 (Climate Actions) of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals in an attempt to combat the wailing effects of global warming and other environmental pollutions being inflicted into the society by the usage of different petrol/diesel-driven engines. Prompted by certain reviewed legislative policies, these Governments have already tasked their technological researchers to invent different ‘Green technologies’ within a specified period of time in an attempt to reverse the consequential effects of human activities on their environments. This is what I call a feasible long-term techno-economic development framework – a type that shall not be influenced by political instabilities, citizenry interference and personal interests.
Research-oriented education through the means of curriculum reform: Nigeria in perspective
Considering the Third World Nations, certain Government policies should be dynamic in nature in-line with the updated global demands, most especially in the education sector while considering the acceptable standard of best practices. Practically, there should be reforms in the existing academic curriculum of the Departments of Engineering and Technology of all the concerned Nigerian Universities. Research-oriented education must be fostered in an attempt to invent our own indigenous green infrastructures for Zero CO2 emission transportation modes and for an eco-friendly energy generation that shall be affordable and readily available for domestic and outlandish consumers. Capacity-building and human capital development, research-oriented education, technology transfer, favourable Government policies, viable capital mobilization channels, Foreign Direct Investments, attitudinal change and global partnership for expertise exchange: This is a clear pathway to attain the long-awaited industrial revolution in Nigeria with the next few decades while also supplementing the United Nations’ efforts to make the world a better place to live in.
For a Nation (Nigeria in perspective) to accomplish a trade balance in the international market, her gross exportation must be greater than (or equal to) her overall importations. In my oft-recited maxim of national development: for Nigeria to conserve her much needed foreign exchange, an export-led economy by the means of value-added industrialization must be stimulated by the co-operations of the public and private players. At this point, it time for us to foster the phenomenon of technology transfer and an export-oriented industrialization in Nigeria – being duly facilitated by global partnership for Foreign Direct Investments.
Actionable steps toward a sustainable industrial development in Nigeria.
Pragmatically, the foundational step towards a successful industrialization in Nigeria is to reform and develop the education sector as a platform to build-up the necessary human resource capacities for a sustainable techno-economic development. The conventional curriculum systems of education must be dynamic, that is, it must be frequently upgraded with respect to the global demands. For a practical example, attentions should be shifted away from the conventional technologies of 4-strokes gasoline engines to the development of different long-lasting solar-powered motors and electric motors (AC & DC) with high service performance. However, engineering students should not be denied the opportunities to have a comprehensive knowledge about internal combustion engines but the main focus should be inventions and development of green technologies in-line with the rising global calls. Relative to the United Nations’ policies to revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development, the various global technology facilitation mechanisms need to come in play in this aspect – by providing modern research and laboratory paraphernalia (accorded with due expertise) to some targeted Universities in the developing countries.
Technology transfer in this context means the conversion of research results into marketable products by investors. Industrial revolution is the process by which a country (with a unique competitive advantage of certain product) yields enough for domestic consumption while also excessively available for exportation. These gestures will undoubtedly strengthen the value of the nation’s currency for higher purchasing power parity (PPP) in the international market, while also facilitating Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), increasing the standard of living of the people, guarding against outrageous National debts, increasing the Nation’s GDP, eradicating poverty through job creations and many other dividends.
It is high time for Nigeria to leverage on the intellectual resource potentials of her people as a distinct competitive advantage for a sustainable techno-economic development. “The true meaning of development is the improvement of value-added activities that will pay-off in the future” (Bruno, 2014). It is therefore imperative for the Government of any nation seeking a successful industrial growth to invent a long-term techno-economic development blueprint, a type that will not be influenced or halted by political instability and citizenry lawlessness. Bruno Marshall Shirley (2014) once said: “the examples of the Tigers clearly show us an alternative path to development: a strong central government guiding the economy rapidly forward through distinct stages of development until it reaches full industrialization”.