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Impacts of Human Capital Development on Economic Growth in Africa

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There are several books, lectures, trainings and talks on Human Capital Development (HCD) today. However, most of these are written or organized by Non Africans for Africa and fail to address the pertinent human capital development problems facing the continent, especially the aspects that deals with the economy growth in Africa. To address this lacuna, I have developed this article which explain the reasons behind Africa’s impoverishing economic state in relation to human capital development, the impacts of human capital development on economic growth in Africa and the way forward.

The Paradox: Rich YET Poor!

Africa is one of the highly endowed continents in the world, blessed with all that is necessary for survival and success. Africa has a large quantity of natural resources including diamonds, salt, gold, iron, cobalt, uranium, copper, bauxite, silver, petroleum and cocoa beans, including woods and tropical fruits. Africa is rich both in human and natural resources. YET this same continent is arguably one poor in many ramifications.

WHY?

How can a continent so rich and blessed appear so poor and beggarly? How can a continent richly blessed by divine be so broke on tangible progress?

It is said that the UN list of least developed countries in 2006 recorded 34 African countries out of a total 50 nations of the world which were referred to as “least developed countries.”

I read that in 1820, the average European worker earned about three times what the average African did. Now, the average European earns twenty times what the average African does. Imagine the gap! It makes me to wonder, is European more blessed or talented than Africans?

Africa scored F!

What is really the problem with Africa? In 2009, 22 of 24 nations identified as having “Low Human Development” on the United Nations’ (UN) Human Development Index were in Sub-Saharan Africa. What this implies is that when it comes to the development of the human person, which (the human person) is the greatest asset every nation can possibly have, Africa, regrettably, scored F.

We may have hard working industrialists, ambitious politicians, good citizens, diverse religious groups, zealous political groups and what have you. But something very vital is obviously missing. Something even more important than merely having or belonging to a group. The fate of Africa becomes obvious when you look at how carried away we are with uncovering and utilizing the resources beneath the earth but there is little or no attention paid to our large vast of human resources- the minds of the African people.

People are assets…

In this century, people are assets. Gifts, talents and resources are nothing. What matters is how properly people are trained and equipped to manage the things at their disposal. Success in this century goes way beyond the mere possession of certain special abilities and resources. We don’t need more talents or special gifts, what we need are proper systems for attracting, promoting, encouraging, growing and effectively sustaining talents within the African shores. Building this system should be the top priority of African governments.

African leading countries must embrace the fact that they can only compete for the future. And if they must win the future they must adapt to the changes of time. Education, not schooling, education- the development of the human person is the key to aggressively seizing the future. Education propels us to look within. Once we have come to harness divine deposits, we can begin to maximize the resources without effectively.

More money and even the so called international aids will not solve our problem. HERE IS MY PROPOSAL TO AFRICA– let there be a shift in priority. Let’s place human resources above natural resources.

With proper human resources in place, natural resources will never be mismanaged. The future of every economy lies in the minds that manage it. Let’s create what I call a human capital driven economy.

Impacts of Human Capital Development on Economic Growth in Africa

Impacts of Human Capital Development on Economic Growth in Africa

When we become a Human Capital driven economy:

  • We focus more on potentials (what we can do) not credentials (what we have achieved)
  • We invest more in future possibilities and stop dying on the pleasures and satisfactions of past opportunities. We compete for the future and not waste away in past glory or shame.
  • We shift our focus from what is beneath the ground to what is within the man. We shift focus from what is buried in the ground to what is buried in the human mind
  • We see education as a means to an end and not an end itself. We focus on the productive life of intellectuals than on how many degrees and PHDs they badge and the titles they bear
  • We begin to value every little contribution made by any member of our community. We begin to encourage our own locally produced materials and encourage our own people in every little scientific progress
  • We begin to focus on how much others invest in our ideas than how much we invest in other people’s ideas. We shift from a consumer orientation into a producer orientation. As Philip Emeagwali once said, “Those who create new knowledge are producing wealth, while those who consume it are producing poverty.”

We missed the mark as a continent when we shifted our focus from investing in Human Resources to investing in natural resources. We value our oil and gold more than we value the development of our human minds. We spend a lot on ammunition, than we spend on our education. There should be a balance between these two investments. It’s important to invest in Natural Resources but in this century it has become paramount that a nation invests more aggressively on Human Resources.

To achieve this, Africa must adopt a new paradigm of looking at their economy. In other words, our economy must be centered on human capital development- the empowerment of individuals to properly deploy their gifts and talents in order to excel at both personal and national heights. The government and various institutions of the continent should focus on how to find/spot talents, create a system for their development, promote and encourage them and most importantly equip them to not only succeed but to be able to duplicate their success. If this is properly done, Africa’s economy will be revolutionized.

What do you think?

Kindly share your thoughts in the comment box.

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Ekemini Ekpo is a professional writer, blogger, and internet marketer. He is passionate about engineering, business, investment, entrepreneurship, finance, and personal development. When he is not managing web projects, he handles academic research writing and data analysis for individuals and organizations.

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Business

5 Ways To Identify Market Opportunities For Business Growth

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Viable business opportunities can be found in the local market. You just need to look at things from an angle that is slightly different from every other person’s view. This will help you to easily identify market opportunities for business growth.

Many times we hear that opportunities come only once in a lifetime. But in the business world, business opportunities come more than once. They present themselves every time; it only takes a touch of creativity and knowledge of where to look and how to leverage them.

Anyone who wants to start -a business or entrepreneur – who is looking to invest in a sector and/or industry should make due considerations before venturing into the business or investment to avoid loses. This article examines 5 ways to identify market opportunities for business growth.

5 Ways To Identify Market Opportunities For Business Growth

1. Identify Market Inefficiencies

Within a market, inefficiencies always abound. For example, with the growing insecurity in the country, it is not enough for the local public to call a transportation (i.e. taxi) company without knowing the name of the driver, much less not being able to identify him with a clear photo. Currently, a taxi company offers passengers the option of requesting the service through a mobile application that allows them to see a photograph of the taxi driver, the license plate number of the car, and even the comments that other customers made about the driver.

Prior to now, this was not the case (market inefficiency) till someone thought in that direction and came up with this innovative solution. Today, the use of apps for different tasks like taking loans, investing in stocks/bonds/shares, TV/Airtime/Electricity subscription, etc. is commonplace in the society, thanks to someone’s ingenuity to spot tangible market inefficiency. In the market, there will always be possibilities to improve services and/or products by identifying market inefficiencies and finding novel solutions to them.

2. Customers’ Desire To Experience Something New

Many say that routine is tiring. That is why people pay for trips, clothes, change their haircut or color, to name a few examples. This growing need to experiment with new things, combined with the desire of customers, can be a successful strategy for identifying business opportunities. Can you innovate the customer experience within an existing business model? If you can, then you can leverage a unique market loophole to your advantage.

Ways To Identify Market Opportunities For Business Growth

3. Choose A Growing Sector Or Industry

When considering market opportunities, it is advisable to take into account activities, businesses, trends that are growing. For example, the cryptocurrency space today is booming and chances are the sector will continue to grow in years to come making it easier for people to make good profits and become highly successfully. Likewise, the education sector is one of the sectors to take into account in the search for opportunities as it is an evergreen sector; people will always want to obtain education.

Also, chose business models that you can work with their subsidiaries even if you choose not to work with the parent business. For instance, you may go into training of people on cryptocurrency or Forex even if you choose not to become a crypto or Forex trader. The businesses are related such that as the parent business grows, the subsidiary business grows likewise.

4. Determine the Product Differentiation

Sometimes, you don’t have to look far to identify a viable market opportunity. Think about this question:

What differentiating factors can my product or service have on the market, apart from those that already exist?

If there is no such differentiator, your potential customers will continue to choose the same product or service that they have known and used over the years. A classic example is going into the sale of clothing materials which is certainly a highly competitive market but this time you promote a feature that is more prominent and different from the others. This way, you can have an audience or market for your business. To do this, carefully study the market and identify the real needs and wishes of customers in the market and proceed to satisfy these needs. You will be amazed that the rate of breakthrough you will make.

5. Follow Your Competition Closely

Take time each week to find out about the latest product and service launches, news, promotions, and offers of your competitors. Focus on what they are doing well, as well as what is not working for them and is causing their current customers to be looking for new options in the market. It is not about copying or imitating your competitors, but rather about learning from the lessons in their successes and loses, anticipating new demands from more demanding and less loyal consumers, and increasing your chances of success in the market.

Conclusion

In this article, I did a good job of examining the 5 key ways to identify market opportunities for business growth. However, note that it is one thing to identify these market opportunities for business growth and another thing to see actual growth in your business. For you to witness real growth and success in your business, you have to put these business growth opportunities which you learnt today to work. Real success comes from taking actions with these strategies that I just shared with you.

However, I recommend that you focus on what is the most important to your business growth. You don’t have to master all the strategies if you don’t need them.

Even when things are going well with your business, as an entrepreneur you don’t have to relent in your search for opportunities to grow and get bigger. If nothing else should motivate you to do more, the desire to solve problems at a worldwide scale should. So, be innovative and try as many methods to grow your business above where it is presently. Even if you don’t do any other thing, improve in your customer service; serve your customers better than the way you serve them now.

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