By Chioma Obinna
The Africa Resource Centre for Supply Chain, ARC, Nigeria is collaborating with academic institutions including the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN; University of Lagos, Unilag; Nnamdi Azikiwe University, NAU Awka and Lagos State University, LASU, to foster educational and research capacities on supply chain management.
The collaboration is designed to strengthen existing programmes and establish new supply chain management degree and certificate programmes, through curriculum strengthening, faculty exchanges, joint research projects and student internships among others.
Speaking during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between ARC Nigeria and the institutions, Regional Director, ARC Nigeria, Mrs. Azuka Okeke revealed that the organisation is raising the performance of health supply chains to increase the availability of medicines and health commodities at the last mile – through capacity enhancements of public health logisticians, supply chain process improvements etc.
According to her, a major focus area of ARC Nigeria is to support effective development of local talent pools adequately trained to manage and operate public and private health supply chain and logistics systems in Nigeria and West Africa at large.
“ARC seeks to foster a supply chain revolution in Nigeria by facilitating local and international partnerships. We are fostering more partnerships with universities across the country within the next three years, aimed at increasing the number of adequately trained professionals with practical skills ready to make impact in public health and private sector supply chain systems,” Okeke said.
“ARC Nigeria’s medium to long-term plan to spur development of local talent involves setting up a premier academic centre of excellence on supply chain in partnership with local and international universities to ensure even distribution and promotion of supply chain knowledge and research across Nigeria.
“ARC is also partnering with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Centre of Transport Logistics, MIT CTL, a leading global institute on supply chain management education and research, with proven track record in setting up supply chain excellence centres around the world, connected through the MIT Global SCALE Network.“
Currently, Nigeria ranks low on logistics competence evidenced from the World Bank’s 2016 Logistics Performance Index, LPI report, which ranks Nigeria within the bottom two quintiles, characterised by very low availability of skilled logisticians, especially in mid-level management roles, an ugly trend which ARC Nigeria is working assiduously to reverse through its innovative solutions.