…“The Fourth Industrial Revolution and Digitization will transform Africa into a Global Powerhouse” – Brookings Institution
In the information age where the world’s growth is hinged on Science, Technology, and the knowledge economy, Ogun state government led by His Excellency Dapo Abiodun is attempting to drive growth by using outdated developmental parameters. It’s inconceivable that the State Government would not have a Ministry or Ministries handling Science, Technology (Mechanical, Civil, Digital etc) and Innovation.
In the past dispensation, Science and Technology was batched with the Ministry of Education, stunting growth and advancement in the sector.
Announcements were made months ago by the Government on plans to create Ministries of ICT and Innovation. But these plans have not materialized.
Digitisation of government processes is one singular masterstroke for reforming the Civil Service. Public Sector Digitization would internal efficiency, plug loopholes thereby reducing corruption.
It would also lead to a robust e Government infrastructure giving easy access and bringing government services closer to the people.
Social services like Education, Healthcare and humanitarian services would also gain immense value from Digitization increasing access and quality at a quicker pace.
The Ministry overseeing Technology Development would drive these initiatives alongside the Ministry of Education. Whilst we acknowledge the deployment of school management portal for administration of public schools, Education Technology (EdTech) has gone beyond this. With technology, access to education would be widened, while also ensuring higher quality as against the more expensive and less effective traditional forms of education.
Our hospitals and Primary Health Centers are bedevilled with several problems including shortage of doctors and other Medical Staff, poor funding, lack of infrastructure, expensive access to basic drugs etc. Digitizing the sector would solve alot of these problems. For example, with the growth of remote consultation, it can be extended to Rural/ Semi-Rural primary Health Centers via Digital Kiosk allowing patients to consult with doctors and specialists that usually wouldn’t be available at those locations.
This can be further integrated to pharmacies, labs and other medical services providing an integrated health system in these locations.
The state needs to drive Research and Development in medical Sciences. Considering that Ogun State is blessed with tropical rain forest, the state can become leaders in Herbal Medicine bringing down cost and opening new channels of revenues for businesses in the state.
Science and Technology could also drive the state’s economic expansion and diversification agenda with comparative advantages in the following areas:
1. Agriculture: This remains one of Ogun State’s greatest advantages to drive up GDP, increase revenues and incomes and job creation. An agricultural revolution would entail massive deployment of mechanized farming, automation and digitization. Rather than importing these tools, which are usually low-quality Chinese products, Ogun state can lead in production and fabrication of across the agriculture value chain.
Science in agriculture would spur new research and headways in improved seeds, local production of improved agricultural inputs like feeds and fertilizers.
New Generation is currently incubating Agritech startups providing innovative and first of its kind, “farming as a service” platform. By the end of 2024, these startups would have cultivated a minimum of 2000 acres of farmland across 4 LGAs.
2. Transportation: The newly launched Ogun Mass transit scheme, launched with CNG powered buses is a step in the right direction. Apart from meeting transportation needs and the global clean energy drive, the state can also use this as a launch pad to growing an automobile industry focused on assembly, production of transport vehicles, parts and others.
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New Generation has identified a budding transportation hub at Sagamu and Remo LGAs. This axis houses most of the truck parks and Mechanics.
Adding the Cargo Airport at Remo in the mix, this presents a unique advantage to make Remo zone the Automobile/ Transport industry of Nigeria. With the right policies, it would be the hub of automobile manufacturing and assembly and parts manufacturing. With the available land in this zone, it can also be the automobile workshop for Lagos.
This then presents a Unique opportunity for the establishment of a University for Engineering and Transportation Technology.
3. SME Development: this is the heartbeat of any economy. Digital tools and services can be built and deployed to grow this segment of the economy.
4. Clean Energy: As the world matches to the clean energy era and the green economy, Ogun state can finally become an energy supplier rather than focusing on crude oil discovery and exploration. With the states deposits of Lithium and other minerals, we can be leaders in production of batteries solar and hydro infrastructure/ equipment.
5. Green economy: This is another major advantage the state can use to drive upits GDP while been a major player in the circular economy.
6. Industries: With the rising cost of machineries due to foreign exchange volatility, our industries would benefit from locally made machines and tools, and fabricated parts.
Urbanization and Smart city: Due to the closeness to Lagos state and it’s spill over effect, Ogun state urban areas are one of the fastest growing in the country in terms of population but with weak infrastructure and urban services. The major urban areas are in Abeokuta LGAs, Ifo, Obafemi Owode, Ijebu ode, Sagamu and Ado Odo Ota LGAs.
These growing urban centers would gain a lot from technology especially Smart city services to rapidly bridge the gap in creating liveable and efficient cities. Ride hailing/e-Mobility, infrastructure Tech, Smart metering, emergency services, AI powered security architecture.
Others include clean energy, water generation and supply technological advancements amongst others.
Human capital development and brain export: Today, Science and Technology has become the highest creators in the Global economy. The WEF states that the fastest growing jobs are technology related. PWC also states that Nigeria can earn over $50Billion from brain export market over the next 10 years.
The lack of a Science and Technology ministry has ensured that the state Youths are losing out in acquiring the skills of the present and future. This has led to the youths in the state losing out of the Federal Government’s 3 Million Tech Talents (3MTT), a tech acquisition program.
New Generation is currently running a highly successful program called the TECHANDWORK. This program focuses on giving youths the much-needed technology skills to make them highly employable in the Digital World. These skills include bit not limited to UI/UX design, software development, Product management, Data Analysis etc.
We have also Keyed into the Federal Governments Tech acquisition skills program called the 3MTT, enlightening youths, provision of Sign Up support and selection.
Our industrial hubs at Agbara, Sagamu, Agro processing zones, potential transportation hub and small-scale manufacturers need the technicians, engineers and fabricators to provide skilled manpower.
A science and tech/ innovation ministry would also build the rails and structure for Entrepreneurship/incubation. One of the core mandates of the Ministry would be support and incubate Science and Technology creations, innovations and inventions while putting a structure for commercialization of these builds.
This also includes setting up and supporting the setup of Research and Development Centers across the state and universities.
At New Generation, we are currently incubating several startups in Agritech, e-Mobility, eCommerce and Retail, Automobile Products, sales and services and more. We have backed this up by setting up 3 BusinessHubs at Ijebu Ode, Ijebu Igbo and Sagamu, first of its kind in these LGAs.
Besides supporting SMEs, these Hubs have been designed to focus on certain aspects of Science and Technology.
1. Ijebu Ode is focused on Agriculture Technology, Retail and Trade Technology, Fabrication and manufacturing of Agricultural Machines and Tools and Science based Agro products.
2. Ijebu Igbo would be the center for Green/ Circular economy and would be supporting the Agro-processing industries (Pomo and New Generation’s Agro Processing city) with fabricated tools and machines.
3. Sagamu: Automobile products and services like repairs, fabrication, sales etc including e-Mobility. New Generation would be launching Ogun States first Ride Sharing platform in January 2024.
We would launch more BusinessHubs at Obafemi Owode, Ifo, Abeokuta, Ado Odo Ota and Egbado LGAs.
New Generation would be launching the Digital RoadMap for Ogun State, called Gateway Digital. It lays the foundation for the development and evolution of the State’s Digital Economy.
Convener, New Generation Good Governance Center (N3GC)
Spokes Person, New Generation Good Governance Center (N3GC)