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Utomi says investment in health, education central to economic growth

– Suggests how pharmacists can cope in a volatile economy

Professor of political economy and management expert, Patrick Utomi, has said that investment in health and education is central to economic development.

He also made recommendations on how professionals such as pharmacists could navigate the wind of change in a volatile economy.

In his keynote address at the ongoing 92nd Annual Conference of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), yesterday in Kaduna State tagged ‘Crocodile City 2019’ the don said “central to the problems of volatility in Nigeria is poverty.”

To navigate turbulence, Utomi advised, “Deploy a strategy. Once, back in the mid-1990s when I was spending a sabbatical at the Harvard Business School (HBS) working on the book, Managing Uncertainty – Competition and Strategy in Emerging Economies, some of the faculties there were having a robust debate on generic strategies for dealing with a VUCA world where volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity were becoming the normal. VUCA is an acronym used by the American military for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous.

“One group, including Robert Kaplan, argued for flexibility to be the soul of strategy in times of volatility. Another group, led by my friend, Pankaj Ghemawat, who had written a book on commitment, argued that the sure strategy is to follow the conquistadors who burnt their boats and had no options but to commit and win. My view is that none is necessarily right or wrong. It depends on context. Part of the context is national strategy. In my book, Why Nations Are Poor, I offer a strategy interface framework to suggest possible outcomes.”

According to him, when poverty ravages the land, it gives birth to insecurity and low purchasing power. “These are factors critical for how well you can expect to perform in the medium to long term,” Utomi said.

The professor added: “About 33 years ago, a number of us were committed to the Enabling Environment Forum, which gave rise to the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG).”

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