2018 Tech Expo: Nige­ria inches to­wards in­no­va­tion driven econ­omy

Last week’s tech­nol­ogy expo in Abuja wit­nessed a tu­mul­tuous crowd of in­vestors, in­no­va­tors, re­searchers and en­trepreneurs - all with their find­ings, prod­ucts and in­ven­tions. With ar­ray of lo­cally made ma­chines and elec­tron­ics prod­ucts show­cased at the exp

Sunday Trust - - ANALYSIS - By Zakariyya Adaramola

Vice Pres­i­dent Yemi Os­in­bajo could hide his feel­ing when he com­mis­sioned the Na­tional Science and En­gi­neer­ing In­fra­struc­ture (NASENI) made Un­manned Aerial Ve­hi­cle (UAV) on the open­ing day of the five-day 2018 Tech­nol­ogy and In­no­va­tion Expo which took part at Ea­gle Square, Abuja.

The vice pres­i­dent said with lo­cally made en­gi­neer­ing and sci­en­tific prod­ucts like the NASENI’s UAV and oth­ers dis­played at the Expo, Nige­ria was surely on its path to­wards the promised land of great­ness.

He said “in­no­va­tion will cre­ate jobs, it will at­tract in­vest­ment, it will boost ex­port, it will grow our econ­omy. These are part of the pos­i­tive im­pact that it will have on our im­age and per­cep­tion around the world.

“Equally wor­thy of note is that Nige­ria is a coun­try hun­gry for in­no­va­tion, ev­ery chal­lenge that we face in terms of se­cu­rity, in­fra­struc­ture deficit, fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion and so on is a nat­u­ral lab­o­ra­tory for man­i­fes­ta­tion of ground­break­ing, home-grown in­no­va­tion.”

The Nige­ria’s num­ber two cit­i­zen said the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari would not rest un­til many of the coun­try’s youth turn their youth­ful en­ergy to­wards science and tech­nol­ogy.

To­wards this end he said the present ad­min­is­tra­tion has laid down a num­ber of pro­grammes to­wards mak­ing this pos­si­ble. Ac­cord­ing to him, one of the laud­able plan for mak­ing science and in­no­va­tion at­trac­tive to the youths is the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s 5th ex­ec­u­tive or­der; for sup­ply­ing and ex­e­cu­tion of pro­jects and pro­grammes es­pe­cially in the area of science, en­gi­neer­ing and tech­nol­ogy. He said by the or­der, no one is al­lowed to source or sup­ply any science and en­gi­neer­ing prod­ucts from abroad un­less such can­not be pro­duced in the coun­try.

“As con­tained in Ex­ec­u­tive Or­der Five, we will also es­tab­lish cen­tres for ac­qui­si­tion of tech­nol­ogy in each of the geopo­lit­i­cal zones of the coun­try. We will pro­vide in­ter­ven­tion funds that will strengthen re­search and devel­op­ment through train­ing pro­grammes and part­ner­ships in Nige­ria univer­si­ties and poly­tech­nics.

“We are also set­ting up tech­nol­ogy hubs in univer­si­ties in the six geopo­lit­i­cal zones. And this is im­por­tant also as we do this to cel­e­brate the cre­ativ­ity and in­no­va­tion of many of our young Nige­ri­ans who are do­ing in­cred­i­ble things in science and tech­nol­ogy.

“As part of our own ef­fort to cre­ate emerg­ing en­vi­ron­ment for tech­nol­ogy band in­no­va­tion in Nige­ria, Pres­i­dent Buhari has ap­proved a new science and tech­nol­ogy in­no­va­tion roadmap 2012-2030 for Nige­ria. He has also ap­proved Na­tional Strat­egy for Com­pet­i­tive­ness in raw ma­te­ri­als and prod­uct devel­op­ment in Nige­ria.

“It is our in­ten­tion as a gov­ern­ment to utilise those ini­tia­tive to stim­u­late global com­petive­ness of our raw ma­te­ri­als and sup­port our am­bi­tion for a di­ver­si­fied econ­omy”, he said.

He said the World Bank had sup­ported some Nige­rian in­no­va­tors with about $3 mil­lion, “the first tranche of which has al­ready been dis­bursed”.

He added: “I’m pleased to note that World Bank is com­mit­ting an ad­di­tional $3 mil­lion for six tech­nol­ogy hubs across Nige­ria in our univer­si­ties.”

He said in ad­di­tion, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment planned to strengthen the tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion ecosys­tem by sup­port­ing the devel­op­ment of new in­no­va­tion hubs in part­ner­ship with the pri­vate sec­tors, “and this is well on course.”

The Vice Pres­i­dent fur­ther said: “We have re­cently con­cluded a com­pet­i­tive se­lec­tion process of pri­vate sec­tor en­ti­ties that will im­ple­ment and man­age the hubs. Each of these hubs will fo­cus solely the mar­ket chal­lenges pe­cu­liar to the re­gion of the coun­try in which each is lo­cated.

“We have co­lab­o­ra­tive team with the Bank of In­dus­try with a semi-hub, which is pri­vate hub and all pri­vate sec­tor en­ti­ties to run a pres­i­den­tial tech­nol­ogy in­no­va­tion chal­lenge in all Nige­rian univer­si­ties-pub­lic and pri­vate, and also some poly­tech­nics in April of this year. Each univer­sity win­ner will be in­vited to an award event hosted by Mr. Pres­i­dent.

“We are also set­ting up tech­nol­ogy hubs in univer­si­ties in the six geopo­lit­i­cal zones. And this is im­por­tant also as we do this to cel­e­brate the cre­ativ­ity and in­no­va­tion of many of our young Nige­ri­ans who are do­ing in­cred­i­ble things in science and tech­nol­ogy.”

He said the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Pres­i­dent Buhari would de­velop a strong con­fi­dent na­tion that is able to quickly iden­tity and take ad­van­tage of emerg­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties in a rapidly evolv­ing world.

The Min­is­ter of Science and Tech­nol­ogy, Dr Og­bon­naya Onu, also cor­rob­o­rated the VP by say­ing there are signs that Nige­ria is al­ready on the march to­wards a new dawn in science.

Ac­cord­ing to the min­is­ter, the num­ber of patents granted to in­no­va­tors and in­ven­tors in the coun­try had risen to 50 by 2017 end­ing, in­di­cat­ing that num­ber of in­no­va­tions and in­ven­tions were on the rise.

‘’Al­ready, there are signs that we are on the on­ward march to­ward a new dawn.

In 2015, there were only 6 patents for re­search find­ings in our coun­try which were pro­cessed through the Na­tional Of­fice for Tech­nol­ogy Ac­qui­si­tion and Pro­mo­tion (NOTAP). Barely a year later in 2016, the num­ber in­creased to 16. By the end of last year, 2017, it rose sig­nif­i­cantly to 50. “This is a clear ev­i­dence of a re­mark­able im­prove­ment in the level of in­no­va­tion in Nige­ria,” he said.

He said science and tech­nol­ogy could bind Nige­ri­ans to­gether in the com­mon pur­suit of cre­at­ing more jobs, cre­at­ing wealth, re­duc­ing poverty, strength­en­ing the naira and reawak­en­ing Nige­ri­ans’ sense of pride.

“Nige­ria can sur­pass the achieve­ments of the ad­vanced na­tions of the world [with science]. What we are do­ing to­day shows clearly that we have the hu­man re­source that will help us achieve this’’, Dr Onu said.

For Pro­fes­sor Muhammed Sani Haruna, the Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Chair­man of Na­tional Science and En­gi­neer­ing In­fra­struc­ture (NASENI), the agency ca­pa­bil­i­ties proves that within ‘’Nige­ri­ans ex­ist the pos­si­bil­i­ties of tak­ing our peo­ple out of poverty and mis­ery, through de­ploy­ing our en­gi­neer­ing in­no­va­tions, tech­nolo­gies, re­searches and other sci­en­tific re­sults us­ing lo­cally sourced man­power and ma­te­ri­als.”

Some of the NASENI’s lo­cally made prod­ucts ex­hib­ited at the Expo in­clude: Elec­tronic vot­ing so­lu­tion, NASENI agri­cul­ture but mul­ti­pur­pose un­manned aerial ve­hi­cles (drones) which were de­vel­oped lo­cally, the wholly first made-in-Nige­ria jet en­gine, first made-in-Nige­ria so­lar panel and prod­ucts, first made-in­Nige­ria pro­pel­ler tur­bines, first Nige­ria small hy­dro power, ki­netic tur­bines, first made-in-Nige­ria tri­cy­cle (KEKE NASENI), Nige­ria’s most ef­fi­cient en­ergy sav­ing LED bulbs, first madein-Nige­ria mo­tor­cy­cle, NASENI’s 24-hour cas­sava flour pro­cess­ing ma­chine, and three-in-one grains thresher.

Mean­while, Dr An­thony Onu­ruka, Lec­ture Depart­ment of Agricul­ral and Bio-En­vi­ron­men­tal En­gi­neer­ing, Imo State Polytech­nic, Umuagwo-Ohaji, has called on the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment to part­ner with in­sti­tu­tions and en­trepreneurs to com­mer­cialise in­ven­tions.

A lo­cally man­u­fac­tured wooden car

NASENI’s lo­cally made Un­manned Aerial Ve­hi­cles

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.