The Director General of the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), Mr. DanAzumi Mohammed Ibrahim, called on African countries to embrace the culture of innovation for the sustainable economic development of the continent.
Ibrahim made the call during the launch of the 2022 commemoration of Africa Technology and Intellectual Property Rights Day held in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria.
The DG who said the difference between the developed and developing countries of the world was technological progress, called on all African countries to invest more in research and development.
Ibrahim noted that Nigeria has talents and facilities which if properly channeled would accelerate economic development.
“What we are trying to do is bring academia and industry together, so that we start to see Nigerian research and development efforts translated into products and services. This is what will ensure the economic development of the system. We cannot continually import technologies into the country. We cannot continuously import finished goods and services from outside the country.
“We have talent, we have facilities, what we need to do is channel that and start seeing our research and development efforts translate into products and services,” he said.
The DG further stated that while discharging the statutory responsibility of the Office, it has been observed that the culture of intellectual property protection within knowledge institutions is weak, hence the need create Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Offices (IPTTOs) to encourage creativity and innovative activities in knowledge institutions.
He said the law has resulted in an increase in the number of permeabilities from the norm of educational institutions to conduct research for career advancement.
“With the intervention of NOTAP, industries and universities are now coming together. Industries have started to use Nigerians to undertake credible research and development on their behalf. And they have started to see the R&D products being undertaken by Nigerians that have value for them. so now, gradually, you are bringing academia and industry closer together.
“Now hopefully you will start to see Nigerian products coming out of Nigerian research and development efforts because the researcher will do their best to come up with the prototype, it is the private sector that will develop it to produce products or services. So now the private sector has started to come in, this is the beginning of our success story,” Ibrahim said.
DG NOTAP regretted that secondary and vocational schools who were major partners in the commemoration of Africa Day with exhibitions on technology and innovation did not participate in the event as the schools had just resumed after a long pause.
The program manager of the Innova8 hub, an innovation-focused non-profit organization, Dr. Obichi Obiajunwa, who expressed his appreciation for the partnership, stressed the importance of gathering data on R&D intensity for good planning in the country.
“Two years after the creation of innov8, he has worked with more than a hundred start-ups, sponsored by organizations such as the Innovation Fellowship for Aspiring Inventors and Researchers IFAIR, TETFUND, we have been able to develop prototypes, technologies from mere ideas, so lecturers, researchers, young Nigerians who have ideas come here and then are able to come out with high fidelity prototypes and minimum viable products.
“That’s what before now they just thought of China, but we are closing that gap and solving the problem for our country,” said Dr. Obiajunwa.
A keynote speaker from Federal Polytechnic Bida, Dr. Usman Nda-Umar, who was attending the event, stressed the need for government at all levels to improve funding for research and development.