COVID-19 Pandemic Experience : A Wake-up call to Nigerian leaders-By Tunde Uchegbuo

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    Amidst the outbreak of the global Coronavirus pandemic, the Managing Director International Monetary Fund (IMF) Kristalian Georgieve, said the global economic growth was negative for 2020, stressing that the global economy was sluggish and precarious, as a result the body has reviewed 2020 economic outlook down from 3.6% to 3.5%.

    The IMF forecast is a dire outlook for a Coronavirus ravaged world economy.

    In its World Economic Outlook, titled “The Great Lockdown,” IMF Chief Economist, Gita Gopinath, also painted a gloomy picture of 2020 world economy.

    “It is very likely that this year the global economy will experience its worst recession since this Great Depression, surpassing that seen during the financial crisis a decade ago; there is extreme uncertainty around the global growth forecast.”

    It is observed that the economic fallout would depend on factors that interact in many unpredictable ways.
    With crude oil price at below $20 per barrel for the first time since 2002, as OPEC+ Production deal failed to lift the prices, this significant financial landslide will have negative consequences on the economy of nations that depend solely on oil for revenue.

    “Advanced economies are generally in a better position to respond to the crisis, but many emerging markets and low income countries will face significant challenges”, the managing director of IMF further submitted.

    The depth and severity of this global calamity remains unclear, but the advanced economies will easily come out of the social and economic upheavals this Coronavirus pandemic will cause to the economy of the world. One way for the advanced economies is through their Universities and Research Institutions.

    The 2012 Annual Report of Universities in the US showed that the North Carolina State University added $6.5 billion to the economy and created 6,800 jobs, while the University Researchers have spun off over 100 start-up companies that have attracted more than $1.5 billion in investment capital.

    Affirming that research and innovation can fast-track development, Professor Joseph Ajienka, former vice-chancellor, University of Port Harcourt, Rivers state, in a paper presented at the 37th Convocation Lecture of Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Port Harcourt, said triple helix concept where government will partner with the academia and the industries will catalyze Nigeria’s economy.

    “Universities that are rooted in creativity, innovation, commercialization and entrepreneurial culture and ecosystem will create a vibrant innovation landscape,” he stressed.

    He posited further that Pakistan and India earns approximately $1billion and $142 billion respectively annually from IT, while Nigeria earns less than $25 billion from oil annually.

    To diversify into a knowledge economy, Nigeria has to strengthen its Universities and Research Institutions to focus on innovation based researches that could attract patents and other forms of intellectual property licensing.

    This will reduce dependence on oil, which is already being threatened by technological advancements and the COVID-19 pandemic.
    The nation’s education system is shut down, but students in the US, UK, Brazil, and some Asian tiger countries are leveraging technology to carry on with their studies amidst the lockdown.

    Educators say there is no learning system that will surpass the gains of face-to-face learning; this is the time to rethink how future education will be carried out because of future uncertainty.

    As the World Economic Forum predicted, 65% of children entering primary schools today will work in completely new jobs that do not yet exist, the ability to prepare for future skills requirements and job content is crucial for businesses, governments and individuals to fully seize the opportunities presented by these trends.

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