By Ebunoluwa Sessou
Nigerian women especially female engineers have been charged to take advantage of the benefits of the National Development Plan, NDP 2021-2025, a medium-term economic plan, launched for the purpose of economic recovery.
Chairman, Access Bank Plc, Ajoritsedere Awosika, MFR, mni, gave the charge while giving a figure of women who make up an average of 22 per cent of the total number of Engineering and Technology University graduates each year.
Awosika who was a guest speaker at the just-concluded investiture of the 17th Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria, APWEN, in her paper titled: The Role of Women Engineers in driving the National Development Plan, NDP, 2021-2025, disclosed that, over the next 10 years, 90 per cent of the jobs will require technology skills and knowledge. Adding that if women are under-represented as technology developers and sophisticated users, they will be left behind in tomorrow’s world.
“There is a clear need for women engineers to come forward to help achieve the objectives of the NDP by playing in these key sectors with huge opportunities in the NDP,’ she said.
She further explained: “Despite Nigeria’s abundant mineral resources, the mineral sector is not a significant driver of economic growth and attracts minimal investments. By 2025, Nigeria plans to have laid a solid foundation for the mineral sector to begin catalysing growth and industrialisation in an environmentally sustainable manner.”
In infrastructure, she said: “By 2025, Nigeria aims to upgrade its current infrastructure to become a well-integrated multi-modal and inter-modal transportation system that is economically efficient, socially equitable and environmentally sustainable.”
According to her: “In the years ahead, Nigeria will facilitate the rebirth of the manufacturing sector by improving the enabling environment, crowding in additional capital, and strengthening value chain linkages. These initiatives driven by competent women engineers, could accelerate the pace of the country’s industrialisation, improve economic growth and foster value-added export orientation of manufacturing skills.
Digital & Technology Sector
There has been a gradual transition to a fourth industrial revolution through the diffusion of digital technologies encapsulated in 5G, cyber security, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, internet of things, computer vision etc. These global trends have created urgency for Nigeria to improve its digital and technological capacity in order to generate innovations that will enable Nigeria to harness the benefits of digitalisation for economic development and competitiveness.
“Nigeria needs to continue to grow its transportation sector through strategic partnerships and capital mobilisation. As transportation becomes more efficient, the gains will translate into economic benefits as businesses spend less on transportation and face lower operational disruptions.
“Engineers have to play a more active role in the public policy process, provide the right guide for industry and leadership towards sustainable development of the country.
“Nigeria needs engineers and especially women engineers to contribute at every level of national economy and policy implementation to confront the challenges facing the country in specific areas including energy, infrastructure and environment which are engineering-related challenges.
“Engineering activities cannot be described as quality if women in the field are not adequately involved. There is need for women engineers to be empowered and given opportunity to contribute to the nation’s development.
“There is a need for support from the engineering ecosystem including Civil, Mechanical, Aeronautic, and Electrical, Systems, chemicals and Agricultural among others to achieve the highlighted objectives of the NDP.
“Nigeria needs more and more women engineers to aggressively drive and achieve the objectives of the national development plan and nation- building generally,” she concluded.