In order to bridge the gap between developed and developing countries like Nigeria, there is need for a strategic and sustained collaboration between the developed and developing countries so as not be left behind in the forthcoming Industrial revolution.
Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Honourable Minister of Science and Technology, while declaring open a two day Conference with the Theme “Rethinking Technology Transfer for Sustainable Development and Transformative change in Africa” organized by the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) in collaboration with the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) of the University of Sussex (UK) with support from United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
The event which drew participants from different African countries like Ghana, Uganda, Zambia and Kenya was aimed at examining the concept of Technology transfer and to what extent appropriate technologies have been transferred and domesticated into the African technology ecosystem.
Dr. Onu said Nigeria and the whole of the African continent with the array of human and material endowment have remained a dumping ground for the technology super-powers, he added that Africans should be strategic enough to acquire, assimilate and absorb technologies coming into the continent and make them indigenous technologies.
He urged the participants to see the Conference as a great avenue/enabler for the continent especially Nigeria to utilize the opportunity offered by the event to support and consolidate Mr. President’s next level agenda in Science Technology and Innovation (STI) in Nigeria.
Dr. Onu further challenged the audience not to relent on their effort towards not only making Africa technologically self sustaining, but for it to become an enviable global competitor in the technology ecosystem.
The Minister however reiterated the need for all African Countries to have a robust and operational technology transfer policies that will hitherto fast-track the assimilation and domestication of technologies being transferred in the continent. He added that it is only technology that can lift African countries from extreme poverty and also help create more jobs for the citizens.
According to him, Science Technology and Innovation (STI) are at the centre to affect other sectors like education sector which is the bedrock in which every developed country rely on.
He also stated that due to the importance attached to technology, African union gave directives to all the African countries to spend 1% of their Gross Domestic Products (GDP) in Research and Innovation but unfortunately no African country is able to meet this expectation, whereas developed countries commit 3% to 10% of their GDP to research and innovation.
Earlier in his welcome address, Dr. DanAzumi Mohammed Ibrahim, Director General of NOTAP, said the Office was establish among other things, to regulate the inflow of foreign technology into the Country through the Registration of Technology Transfer Agreement.
The Director General further stated that NOTAP register the agreement through three major perspectives; legal, economic and technical perspectives and in the event that any of this perspectives are not met, the agreement will not be registered.
He said NOTAP through the registration of technology transfer agreement realized that there was weak Intellectual Property culture in the Nigerian knowledge Institution and for a Country blessed with human intellects, the situation was unacceptable therefore NOTAP in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2006 introduced the establishment of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Offices in some selected knowledge institutions.
He said the Office also realized that most of the multinational companies that bring Technology Transfer Agreement to NOTAP carry out laboratory analyses in their parent Countries, reasons being that there were no state-of-the-art laboratories in Nigerian Universities. He added that to change the narrative, NOTAP is collaborating with PZ Cussons plc have upgraded some laboratories in some selected knowledge institutions.
He also urged researchers to approach NOTAP for assistance in Patenting their research results free, adding that it was a strategic effort by the Office to encourage research in the country.
Dr. Ibrahim also said that the office is working hard to develop a database for Nigerian professionals for proper documentation of their areas of specialization which will form a new frontier for the nation’s technology development.