Digital Technology to Spur Nigeria’s Production Revolution, Say Investors  

Fadekemi Ajakaiye

The Emerging African Innovation Leaders (EAIL) Nigeria Team has advised authorities to embrace the Next Production Revolution (NPR) – the confluence of technologies ranging from a variety of digital technologies (e.g. 3D printing, the Internet of Things, advanced robotics) and new materials (e.g. bio‑ or nano‑based) to new processes (e.g. data‑driven production, artificial intelligence, synthetic biology).

The team members stated this during EAIL Nigeria Country Day held at the Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies, Covenant University, Ota Ogun State. According to the team, adoption and utilisation of latest technologies within NPR will revolutionise the production sector.

The Emerging African Innovation Leaders project was conceived during the Italian G7 Presidency and is focused on boosting African prosperity through the embracement of the Next Production Revolution (NPR). The project is funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), jointly managed by Politecnico di Milano and Politecnico di Torino and involves six African Countries – Tunisia, Niger, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya and Mozambique.

 As part of the program, each participating country is expected to host a Country Day where it will create further visibility on the EAIL program, engage with stakeholders and strengthen the network of African Innovation Leaders. It also provides an opportunity to solicit support and commitment towards the establishment of a Next Production Revolution Competence Centre (NPRCC) in Nigeria, and implementation of some pilot projects to demonstrate the next production revolution.

The team justifies Nigeria’s need to participate in NPR by citing its market opportunities of about $8billion revenue potential available for Nigeria mini-grid market, $3trillion investment opportunity in Nigeria’s transport sector, $13b for E-commerce sector while the country remains Africa’s largest mobile market with 162 million subscribers and a penetration rate of 84%.

  The representative of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mr. Kanayo Iwuchukwu told the gathering that the association is making effort to enhance innovations in schools and reduce the gap between industry and academia. Toward achieving this, he said there is an existing partnership with the Deans of Engineering Faculties across Universities stressing that MAN is currently developing a curriculum for cement production.

  Other panelists – MD of Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) represented by Maryesther Ezeadi​, and Fayo Williams of Innovation Support Network (ISN) Hubs discussed challenges and opportunities for innovation and startups in Nigeria, as well as funding and financing opportunities.

  In his remark, the Executive Vice Chairman of National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Prof. Sani Haruna said the initiative would assist NASENI to achieve its mandate and assured EAIL of its support.