Posted by Sunday Agha, Nsukka | 23 February 2018 | 1,606 times
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, has promised to help Nigerian universities establish science parks in order facilitate the diversification of the country’s economy through science, technology and innovations.
Dr Onu made the promise in his address at the 1st International Conference for Science Parks and Innovation Ecosystem for National Development (SPIE4ND) holding at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
He said that the culture of establishing high tech clusters should be promoted by universities, new business incubators and research complexes within Science and Technology sector.
While stressing that no nation would achieve greatness without Science and Technology, Dr Onu said his ministry was ready to partner and support science and technology innovations geared towards helping Nigeria transit to knowledge-based economy
The Minister explained that the Science Park project would facilitate the creation and growth of innovation-based companies through incubation and spin-off process, as well as provide other value-added services together with high quality space and facilities.
Citing the example of Singapore, the minister said that history had shown that countries with smaller population had achieved greatness through science and technology. He stated that Nigeria with larger population could leverage on Science Park innovations to improve the pace of its economic growth.
He said that as the most populous African country, Nigeria should set the pace for science and technology revolution in the continent by harnessing indigenous technology.
Meanwhile, the Minister commended the vision of the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nigeria in conceiving the idea of Science Park in the University.
“I assure you that the collaboration between the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and my ministry and its parastatals would yield positive results with both organisations mutually benefiting for the overall development of Nigeria,” he said.
Dr Onu said that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to promoting innovative technologies that would help reduce import dependence and enhance local content in the production of goods and services.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof Benjamin Ozumba, in his address described the workshop as another move by the premier university to “restore the dignity of man”. He stated that the University of Nigeria had already taken steps towards building a knowledge-based economy for the country.
Prof Ozumba said the workshop was aimed at sensitising the academia, researchers, entrepreneurs government ministries and agencies on the need to acquire skills and training required to build a competitive 21st century economy.
The Vice-Chancellor explained that the conference was an offshoot of his initial trips to Sweden to understudy the operations of science parks in the country.
“This international workshop is our modest effort to domesticate what we learnt in Sweden and help in creating the needed culture of innovation in our country, Nigeria,” the Vice-Chancellor said
The workshop, held February from 20 – 23, 2018, had in attendance experts in the development of Science Park from Sweden, South Africa and Kenya. Also in attendance were representatives of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry for Trade and Investment, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Customs and other national institutions with interest in technology and innovations.
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