‘Human capital development, key to economic growth’
• ATMS Foundation invests $60m on training in SSA
Human capital development has been identified as tool to promote economic growth and stimulus for development. Its significance and relevance through acquisition of necessary skills is also a prerequisite for socio economic transformation.
These were the submissions of Human Resource practitioners and experts at the African Management Services Company (AMSCO) business transforming Africa conference in Lagos on Tuesday.
Director, Economic Growth Department, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Kayode Obasa, said the wealth and prosperity of a nation rest upon the development of people and the effective contribution to national development, stating that human resources constitutes the ultimate basis for the wealth of nations.
Obasa said any country, which is unable to develop the skills and knowledge of its people and utilize them effectively in the national economy, would definitely encounter the challenge of sustaining economic growth and development.
He opined that quality skills are key in stimulating economic growth and sustainable development process and can make an immense contribution in restoring the Nigerian economy to the path of recovery.
Quality skills training tends to increase productivity and competitiveness in a knowledge-based economy, this he said would help direct how employments, skills and economic development policy areas could generally be integrated to maximize benefits for the economy and society, as well as to foster business development, and the enhancement of skills and social inclusion.
Besides, the African Training and Management Services (ATMS) Foundation has said it has committed over $60m to training and management of human capital development in Sub-Saharan Africa in the past 21 years.
Director, ATMS Foundation, Sven Riskaer, disclosed that the private sector as well as the Small and Medium Enterprises had benefitted from the financial and training support being implemented by the AMSCO.
According to him, human capital and skills development are the keys to unlocking the huge growth potential of the African continent.He said that the foundation’s activities in 29 African countries had resulted in the training of 2,000 people annually and over $85m paid in taxes to African governments by the companies it supported.
Riskaer said, “We have over the years observed that there is a skills gap that continues to stifle business growth in the African continent. African governments have mostly maintained prudent macro-economic policies, strengthened financial institutions and continue to undertake reforms to transform their economies structurally.
“However, such efforts are often limited as far as human capital development for small, medium and large enterprises is concerned. African enterprises play a crucial role in the growth of the African economy and job creation. Alone in Nigeria, five to six million new job seekers join the labour market every year. However, the capacity of African enterprises to fully engage at a global level is often compromised.”
Medical Director, First Cardiology Consultants, Dr. Adeyemi Johnson, in his keynote address, noted that there was a strong desire by young Nigerians in the Diaspora to return home and develop the country.
He noted that those in the Diaspora had the skills set to work efficiently and develop their country but were often concerned about insecurity, income and the quality of education.
“Diasporas don’t need too many incentives to come back but they want to come back. Money is not what is driving these people, they just want to make an impact,” Johnson said.