By Adams Fakorede
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development Services), University of Lagos, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola on Tuesday said that over 600 million people in Africa lacked access to electricity.
Ogunsola at a public lecture on “Africa rising: harnessing the power of disruptive technology to bridge the development divide in education and health – an imperative for tertiary education,” said 600 million Africans accounted for the one billion people without electricity globally.
She stated this at the 7th annual public lecture of the Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa, held at the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan.
According to her, Nigeria must therefore embrace the use of renewable solar energy to increase access to electricity at home and the continent.
While maintaining that the digital revolution requires energy, the don attributed low access to electricity to high population growth rate and uneven development.
She advised the government to urgently work on how to control the population saying unless the population is controlled, infrastructure development would not match a geometrically growing population.
Ogunsola tasked Nigeria on data generation for the future, advising that the Nigerian government should also address health care system problems.
The varsity don further maintained that for Nigerian health institutions to be ready for the future, it must digitize patient records in an electronic management system.
The university administrator who disclosed that very few countries of the world spend over one percent of their Gross Domestic Product on research, lamented that Nigeria spends less than one percent of her GDP on research.
According to her, government must invest in human capital development rather than in infrastructure saying only a literate populace would develop infrastructure.
“The digital revolution is dependent on energy. The access rate to electricity in Africa has been slowly rising since 2000 and currently stands at 43percent but Africa accounts for 600m of the one billion people globally without access to electricity.
“The projection for sub-saharan Africa is that access will double by 2030 but there will still be about 600million without access due to high population growth rates and uneven development.
“This low rate of access can be turned to a major advantage with the embrace of renewable energy such as solar energy”
In his speech, Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof. Idowu Olayinka who was represented by the Provost College of Medicine, Prof. Oluwabunmi Olopade-Olaopa said that Africa researchers must conduct locally relevant researches that could leapfrog the continent into a global power.