Anambra Business Summit: Obiano’s blueprint for the future

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The governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, on Monday hosted an esteemed assemblage of technocrats, intellectuals, entrepreneurs, business development experts, traditional rulers and ndi Anambra to a Business and Investment Round-table, to determine and evolve a roadmap for the comprehensive development of Anambra State.

The business summit themed: “Beyond Infrastructure: Rethinking the Future”, is part of the continuing effort of the Obiano administration to chart a sustainable course of economic development for Anambra State. Coming on the heels of the inauguration of the Anambra Vision 2070 committee – a committee to steer a 50 year development plan for Anambra State, the summit, positioned to deal with short term development plans, couldn’t have been timelier.

Welcoming participants, governor Obiano posited that the summit is “perfectly aligned to the core philosophy behind the 50 year development plan”, to bring Ndi Anambra within a touching distance of the planned future and to give them a foretaste of what the future holds.

The plan had been on from the beginning of the governor’s administration. This is evidently spelt out in the vision and mission statement, as well as in the efficacious security model the administration has progressively sustained.

Recalling his early prioritization of security when he assumed office, governor Obiano said that: “security was the key to everything we wanted to achieve. I was certain that if we didn’t get security right, everything else would go wrong. Our first step was to organize Nigeria’s first International Security Conference and hire an Israeli security expert to facilitate it. The immediate outcome of that idea is the famous Anambra Security Architecture. Our security blueprint has evolved through a number of phases and has now become the Anambra Smart City Surveillance System or Operation Kpochapu 2.”

The achievement in security has a multiplier effect in direct investments, both foreign and local; and has engendered development in every sector of the state’s economy. However, the need to sustain key developmental structures and firm up future projections, informs a technologically-based development driven by artificial intelligence and ICT. Fortunately, Anambra state has introduced STEM technology into its educational system, but a lot more needs to be done.

Governor Obiano emphasized this when he revealed that the “state is fully aware that the indices for measuring development in the near future will no longer be essentially about physical infrastructure but about the quality of the human capital. The human intellect and the quality of human thought will soon become the differentiator between societies. And the only link between today and that dispensation is quality education, created by quality teachers in quality schools. Our society missed out on all the stages of industrial revolution up to the present ICT revolution. We cannot afford to miss out on the exploding dispensation of nanotechnology and artificial intelligence.”

Dr. Leo Stan Ekeh, Chairman/CEO of Zinox Limited and the keynote speaker at the summit buttressed the need for a technologically-based development in his address. Dr. Ekeh said that the emerging realities of this century indicate that the world is inclining towards a knowledge driven society that is largely dependent on ICT and artificial intelligence.

He reiterated the urgency to move from analogue to digital systems and the need for government to invest more in education and also develop clusters for advancements in ICT, coding, digital entrepreneurship and other areas of development in artificial intelligence.

He stressed that this will form a strong base for a viable, achievable and sustainable economic plan.

On his part, the former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria and a renowned economist, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo said the major problem of the society as it is presently structured, is the prevalence of what he termed sequential discontinuity – a system of truncated ideas and programmes as a result of the four year or at most eight year span of any government in Nigeria.

He said that this has given the country an uncertain disruptive future and delayed the general process of development.

Prof. Soludo who is also the Chairman of the Anambra State Committee on Vision 2070 said that the summit is a short term stimulus that will drive the long term destination of where Anambra wants to be.

He described the summit as timely and lauded governor Obiano for the innovative, visionary and legacy plans. He concluded by saying that only those who plan can control the future.

The summit was divided into four sessions with panelists that discussed Education and Health; ICT and the Creative Economy; Tourism and Hospitality; and Infrastructure and Housing.

Credit: Ikenna Aniagboso

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