Nigeria's skills shortage may hamper its economic success
The managing director of a leading UK consultancy which helps companies looking to enter African markets has warned that the huge skills shortage in Nigeria may hamper its moves to becoming an economic giant.
Kevin Korgba, Managing Director of ETK Group made his comments following BBC Radio 4’s broadcast of the documentary MINT: The Next Economic Giants which discussed opportunities in Nigeria.
In Korgba’s view the economist Jim O’Neill, featured in the broadcast, failed to emphasis as strongly as he should have on the huge skills shortage in Nigeria which he believes urgently needs to be filled.
Korgba said that in addition to basic skills such as communication, reading and writing there is a dearth of management, leadership, technical and administrative expertise.
“The lack of talent and expertise is one of the key factors that will prevent Nigeria from fulfilling its potential,” said Korgba.
“There needs to be an urgent focus on addressing this through increased access to education and training.
“We would also emphasise the importance of understanding the nuances of local markets as failure to acknowledge differences in leadership and management styles can make or break a business.”
ETK Group believes there are three ways in which this skills gap can be filled:
Education:In addition to enabling more children (particularly girls) to attend school, more attention should be afforded to introducing vocational education and apprenticeships to encourage practical skills that are transferable.
Foreign investment:Merging international best practice with local knowledge is the most effective way to boost sales and run a profitable business.
Encouraging foreign companies of all sizes to enter the Nigerian market will therefore have a positive impact on the skillset of both employer and employee.
Diaspora:There is a wealth of experience to be found within diaspora communities. A conscious effort should be made to provide incentives for Nigerians in diaspora to return through the creation of opportunities that are attractive both in relation to remuneration and career advancement, and which also place an emphasis on what the diaspora can do to help business growth in Africa.
Obstetrician/gynaecologist, Dr Chito Nwanna, provides one example of the positive impact returning diaspora can have on the Nigerian community.
Upon returning to Abuja, Nigeria from North America where she had been living and studying, Dr Chito worked with ETK Group to found a Women's Healthcare practice, offering obstetrics, gynaecology, paediatrics, family medicine and counselling services.
Since opening in 2012, the Tabitha Medical Centre has gone from strength to strength and today has an active patient-list of 378, has conducted more than 25 successful surgeries and has organised several reproductive health workshops and awareness events.
MINT: The Next Economic Giants is a series of BBC Radio 4 documentaries by economist Jim O'Neill, that focus on the four countries believed to be the next emerging economic powers: Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey. www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03p824m