Acholonu questions the mantra of “local raw materials” as a development pathway

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By Our Reporter

Entrepreneur and patent holder in the USA and Nigeria, Dr Kenny Acholonu, has punctured the mantra of reliance on local raw materials as the pathway to Nigerian industrialisation and development.

In his book, Who will give you the technology? Science-based innovation and manufacturing in Nigeria, the innovator asserts that “local raw materials not a panacea for development”.

Acholonu asserted: “Many policymakers in Nigeria, particularly in Africa, continuously and erroneously promote the policy framework that says using local raw materials will add much economic value and lead to higher GDP growth. Contrary to global development experience, no one ever asked the Japanese, who import almost all raw materials, to use local raw materials in Japan. No one asks the Swiss, who also import nearly all raw materials, especially in the agricultural sector, to use local raw materials.
“What is necessary and sufficient for economic growth, higher GDP and getting our population out of poverty is to focus our policies on high-value products which pay high wages and lift the general population out of poverty.”

Acholonu notes that companies that use Nigerian local raw materials usually bring out “commodity products”. Even so, he recommends encouraging them “through a policy that ensures they buy high value, locally made intermediate products made by local science and technology entrepreneurs in the chemical, food technology, and engineering industries”.

Dr Acholonu is an industrialist, award-winning scientist and business strategist who holds three USA patents in organic chemical synthesis and two Nigerian patents in micronutrient fortification. He is the visionary founder of Micronutrient Laboratories Limited and BioOrganics Nutrient Systems Limited. His expertise was recognised by F. Hoffman La Roche, where he served as a director in Nigeria.

Micronutrient Laboratories Limited produces and markets Cognito Nutrient Powder, which many states deploy to fight malnutrition.

Acholonu studied Chemistry at Howard University and obtained his doctorate from the University of The Pacific. He did post-doctorate work at the School of Hygiene and Public Health of Johns Hopkins University. He then worked as a research chemist at Stamford Research Laboratory of American Cyanamid Inc., developing work fetching three patents.

Former president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR, will lead a cast of eminent persons in manufacturing, science, and technology to the presentation of the book on 20 June 2024 at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Victoria Island, Lagos.

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