An international journalist and author of several history books, Prof. Howard French, has urged Nigeria to seize the opportunity of its demographic dividend to build wealth, invest more in its education, productivity and grow its economic power and resources.
Prof. French made this call at the edition of Sterling One Foundation Leadership Series 2022 with the theme: Born in Blackness: Truth, Lies & X” which was held in Lagos, was designed to bring together a diverse and distinctive group of opinion leaders, global thinkers and change makers to shift the mindset and mental models of leadership for individuals and organizations alike.
According to the renowned journalist, education and economic development go hand in hand, therefore any nation that wants to grow in its productivity and economic power should invest more in the education of its young generation.
“I believe that education will be the key to Nigeria’s economic future and also that Nigeria needs to do more for its people in terms of education. Nigeria can redouble its investment in education and truly make this into national priority for a sustained period of time by committing the appropriate kind of resources and really work hard towards this, Nigeria will grow in its economic productivity,” he said.
He added that in the 1980s, China was able to figure out how to put them on the road map of its economic power.
“China was able to figure out the part that put them on the road to economic power. This was an era of economic reform for them. China was going into what demographers call demographic dividend (the ratio of young people compared to old people is very high). In the 1980s the percentage of old people under the age of 35 compared to people who are infants and old people was very high. People at the prime of their life are producing wealth and productivity to drive the nation forward. A man called Deng Xiaoping in the Communist party who at the time that said this is an opportunity for China that they were entering demographic dividend that the ratio of young people that we have to push education because this is what will drive our industrialization and economic advancement onto an high place and historical opportunity, now they are the most successful country in the world.”