Dr Sarah Alade, a retired Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), identified digital infrastructure as a critical key toward developing the nation’s economy.
Alade made this assertion in a key-note address she delivered at the 2-day maiden Offa Economic Summit in Offa, Offa Local Government Area of Kwara.
She spoke on: ‘‘The Nexus Between Industrial and Infrastrutural Facilities in Offa.’’
She said such digital infrastructure, when provided, would not only develop the economy but also stimulate industrial growth.
According to her, the future is here and technology is the way to go if we must build competitive economy.
‘‘There is need for the provision of digital infrastructure. We can increase efficiency of services and transform the economy as new businesses spring up around the digital technology.
‘Today innovative technology is being used across Africa to improve living standard and also create new jobs. Smart phones are used to provide advice to farmers on pest control.
‘‘In Rwanda drones deliver medical supply to hospitals in rural areas where the road network is poor.
‘‘In Nigeria and elsewhere mobile money provides access to financial services to previously excluded individuals. ‘It is ,therefore, important as we have to deliberate on transforming Offa to an emerging city by taking steps to industrialise.
” We need to go beyond the traditional physical infrastructure of roads, rails, among others and also invest in digital infrastructure.”
The former CBN deputy governor said Offa had great industrial prospect with focus on natural resources, labour supply, and strategic location of the town and presence of railway.
Dr Waheed Olagunju, former Executive Director, Bank of Industry (BOI) emphasised that there was enough money to assist small and medium scale industries and enterprises in the nation’s economic system.
Olagunju, who spoke on: ‘‘Action, Steps in Accessing Credit Facility to Finance Industrial Projects,’’ however, said no bank would be ready to give credit facilities to a business or investment that lacked viable and successful potential.
Olagunju, who recalled that Nigeria used to be one of the leading nations in Africa before the last economic recession, expressed optimism that the country was again on the path to economic prosperity.
Oba Muftau Gbadamosi, the Olofa of Offa, represented by Chief Bayo Akinola, the Ojomu of Offa, commended the organisers for their foresight and urged them to maintain the tempo.
He pledged the support of the traditional institution in making the summit objectives a reality.
Dr Raji Ahmed, the Chairman of the summit organising committee, said the summit was basically organised to formulate domestic economic policy for, between five and 10 years rolling plan for Offa community.
Highlight of the programme was the constitution of a 10-man Offa Industrial Development Trust Fund Committee Chaired by Prof. Mosobolaje Oyawoye.