The only way to enhance and grow skills in Nigeria is for the private sector to be involved

On the 8th of April 2016, multidisciplinary experts from the private and public sector gathered at the fourth edition of the Quramo conference, to discuss issues bordered around human capacity in Africa under the theme “People Power: Human Capacity for Industrial Africa.” The event, which took place at the Lagos Court of Arbitration, Lekki, Lagos was attended by Mr Haresh Aswani, Chairman Tolaram Group, makers of Indomie; Mr Mark Eddo, Founder and managing director Mark Eddo Media; Akin Oyebode, Executive Secretary, Lagos State Employment Trust fund and Afolabi Imoukhuede Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job Creation, Office of the Vice President.

When it comes to Human capacity building, Africa lags behind other continents. In Nigeria for instance, only a few multinational companies take the issue of Human capacity building seriously. Most just hire staff with little or no experience and also refuse to help them enhance their skills. According to some business owners in Nigeria, the fear of losing their staff after spending so much on training them is their greatest fear.

“What if after spending so much to train my staff, the person decides to leave my organization in less than six months. This means the person would use the skills he has acquired from me to grow another person’s organization,” said Chinedu Ogidi, who runs a manufacturing company in Aba, Abia state, eastern Nigeria. Below are some of the main topics discussed at the event:

Experiences and solutions in Human Capacity

The time has come for the real assets of any successful organization to be measured and not limited to the size of its financial capacities, but the intellectual property these organizations harness and how much they have been able to improve the value of their staff.

At the conference, Haresh Aswani, Chairman of the Tolaram group was interviewed by Mark Eddo, Founder and Managing Director of Mark Eddo Media. They talked about his experience when he came to Nigeria and how he was able to build the Indomie brand by investing in human capacity. He also talked about possible solutions towards improving human capacity in Africa, most especially Nigeria. He then said that if people do not invest in human capacity, their businesses would not grow.

“The only way to enhance and grow skills is for private sectors to be involved”

Nigerian Universities need to develop a tracking system where they would be able to know where their graduates are and what they are doing. Several university graduates have lost opportunities to get better jobs because of the universities negligence. Haresh said that there was a time he went to a university to get engineering graduates to work with but the university could not contact any of their graduates for employment.

“Inconsistency in the educational sector and bad government policies are setbacks to the growth of human resources,” said Haresh Aswani.

Human capacity – The European Model

At the conference, the German Consul General Lagos, Mr. Ingo Herbert, spoke about how Europe was able to build its economy by investing in Human Capacity.

“We need research co-operation between institutes and companies to manufacture high-quality products,” said German Consul General Lagos, Mr. Ingo Herbert.

Recent studies of Europe before the Industrial Revolution indicated that human capital of ordinary workers may have had a much larger impact on economic performance than was previously assumed.

However, the European Union has adopted a strategy for economic growth and social cohesion, called the ‘Lisbon strategy’ after the European Council of March 2000. This combines the pursuit of sustainable macroeconomics with a microeconomic approach which stresses the potential of a society based on knowledge, scientific research, human resources and entrepreneurship. Since Lisbon, the strategy has been enhanced as subsequent European Councils have taken up the theme. The Lisbon strategy informs community structural policy and promotes optimum allocation of financial resources. The European Commission has repeatedly emphasized the need to invest more in human capital. Its recent communications on lifelong learning, quality of work and mobility give a sharper focus to this message.

He also said that Nigeria should implement policies to encourage doing business and foster openness among partnering Nations.

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