The development of human capital for the transformation of businesses and the nation was at the heart of conversations at the 7th edition of the annual Africa Business Conference held at the Honeywell Auditorium of Lagos Business School (LBS) on Saturday, December 8, 2018.
Facilitated by the Africa Business Club (ABC) of the School, the conference, the second in the year brought together industry experts, thought leaders, and entrepreneurs to discuss the theme, Human Capital: The Key to Africa’s Transformation.
Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE), Oscar Onyema who delivered the keynote speech at the conference exposed the audience to how policy affects human capital using the United States government as a case study and deriving lessons that can be superimposed for the Nigerian experience. He said, “To get the Nigerian market to an emerging market status, we need good quality human capital that understands market microstructure, policy creation, and market regulation. An empirical study conducted over the course of five years found that companies with high human capital index provide higher returns to shareholders”.
Co-keynote speaker, United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington said, “I am here to let you know the greatest resource of this nation. As an ambassador, I have seen firsthand the diversity of the nation as well as its potential.”
“The most successful people you will remember think in terms of people. Their value for people is what makes them stand out. That’s why I strongly believe that the greatest resource for this nation is you”, Symington added.
The conference broke out into panel sessions with experts in industries – agribusiness, healthcare, personal finance and investment, manufacturing and trade, creative and media, technology, and education.
Founder and Managing Director of medical equipment solutions company, JNC International Ltd, Clare Omatseye who sat on the healthcare panel spoke on the need to improve on healthcare delivery in Nigeria without failing to touch on the brain drain of the few skilled professionals to developed countries. Proffering a solution to this prevailing challenge, Omatseye said, “In the short term, we need to put a ring fence around the healthcare workers we have. We have a very little number, and we are losing them every month, so we need to change remuneration, the civil service act, salary, and incentive structure and ultimately, create a new crop of healthcare practitioners by leveraging on technology for training.”
Contributing to the healthcare conversation, Managing Director, Flying Doctors Nigeria, Dr Ola Brown Orekunrin listed the five pillars of healthcare reform as “Primary healthcare expansion, tertiary healthcare centralisation, a focus on maternal and child health, task shifting and sustainable healthcare financing”. She, however, emphasised on the fact that 90 percent of healthcare needs in Nigeria can be met by primary healthcare.
The Africa Business Conference aims at generating insights and gaining mindshare on trends that would affect doing business in the continent and speaking on the success of the event, Co-Chair of the ABC, Babatunde Akin-Moses said, “This edition of the conference has surpassed all expectations and achieved our objective which is to get people thinking about human capital from different perspectives. The feedback from our interaction with attendees proves that their mindsets have been influenced as regards the subject, and they have taken a lot of lessons which they intend to apply at work.”
Other speakers and panelists at the conference are CEO, GE Nigeria, Dr Lazarus Angbazo; Country Manager, AFEX Nigeria, Ayodeji Balogun; CEO, Bestman Games, Nimi Akinkugbe; filmmaker, Kemi Adetiba; CEO, X3M Ideas, Steve Babaeko; Country Managing Director, Accenture Nigeria, Niyi Yusuf; LBS Faculty, Dr Ijeoma Nwagwu and others.
The conference closed with a networking session where panelists and participants engaged in further interaction over lunch.
“I am here to let you know the greatest resource of this nation. As an ambassador, I have seen firsthand the diversity of the nation as well as its potential.” - Stuart Symington, United States Ambassador to Nigeria