Shettima: Innovation Key to Modern Wealth, Economic Prosperity, Sustainability

James Emejo in Abuja

Vice President Kashim Shettima yesterday said innovation remained key to modern wealth, prosperity, and economic sustainability amid current domestic and global headwinds.

Shettima spoke in Abuja at the 2024 Nigerian Risk Leadership Summit and Awards, with the theme, “Connecting Risk, Resilience and Innovation for Sustainable Growth.”

The summit was organised by Conrad Clark.

The vice president described innovation as value addition to “what we already have and making the lives of human beings easier”.

He pointed out that the administration of President Bola Tinubu was working to make local companies globally competitive and open up the economy to more innovations in the business space.

Represented by Special Adviser on Economic Affairs in the office of the Vice President, Mr. Tope Fasua, Shettima called for the recognition and celebration of the country’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

He said, “They say that the biggest room in the world is the room for change. It is equally the room for innovation. Young people all over the world today view many phenomena differently from how older folks see things.

“And in so doing, they bring new ideas that enable the world to stretch resources and manage everything more sustainably.

“Centuries of misuse has resulted in climate change, and so this is the time for the world to think fully about sustainability – a concept that questions whether current practices can be repeated into the future without serious implications.”

Shettima praised the resilience of Nigerian entrepreneurs amid various odds.

He said, “Resilience is a word that has been used to describe Nigerians for decades now. It speaks to the ability of Nigerians to keep going in spite of all odds.

“Indeed, Nigerians stand apart in the world for the fact that we keep going no matter the condition. And that is why one of the pillars that make for our national balance, is the presence of 39 million nano, micro, small and medium enterprises out of a global number of 332 million.

“If we go by this number, we have roughly 12 per cent of the global figure, engaging our youths by creating mass employment.”

On the question of provisioning for risks amid increasing uncertainties, the vice president said, “Risk is ubiquitous in everyday life. At the national level, a leader takes the risks that will position a nation for greatness.

“But risks must be mitigated, calculated, insured, where possible, with as minimum as possible impacting society and causing the right levels of disruption.

“Leadership entails a training in risk management in general, such as allows leaders to understand that the two core attributes that separate leaders from managers are calculated risk taking, and visioning, and that in risk-taking lies the opportunities that transform human beings, institutions and nations as a whole.”

Managing Director/Chief Executive, Conrad Clark, Dr. Joachim Adenusi, said the objective of this year’s summit was to “provide a response to the ongoing challenges we face as a nation, and in doing so, we hope to offer a comprehensive idea for the stability of organisations in Nigeria, bearing in mind multiple crises unfolding day by day”.

Adenusi said the country must explore innovative approaches to managing risks to equip industry leaders and policymakers with the appropriate knowledge and tools to make informed decisions that will best benefit the country’s growth.

He said, “Yes, if we are able to manage risks on time, we may reduce the number of unending daily crises frustrating many Nigerians and start experiencing effective sustainable growth.

“Also, in exploring the efficacy of the term resilience, innovation and sustainability, it is understood that these three elements are critical in overcoming crises, uncertainties and difficulties.

“To me, resilience involves the processes dealing with sudden shocks. Sustainability is about ensuring the desired outcomes of such shocks, protect the future, while dealing with the current crises, and innovation represents creative pathways to achieving both resilience and sustainability.”

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