Nigeria’s Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu has said the gap between developed and developing countries like Nigeria could only be bridged if countries in the continent are able to formulate robust policies that promote technology transfer.
According to Onu, the continent may be left behind in the forthcoming Industrial revolution without policies that are consciously designed fast-track the assimilation and domestication of technologies being transferred in the continent. He added that Science Technology and Innovation (STI) remains the only tool that can lift African countries from extreme poverty and create more jobs for the citizens.
To underscore the importance of technology in Africa’s development, the African union had urged all African countries to dedicate at least 1% of their Gross Domestic Products (GDP) to Research and Innovation. Unfortunately no African country has met this expectation at a time developed countries commit not less than 3% to 10% of their GDP to research and innovation.
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), Onu lamented that Africa has remained a technology dumping ground for the world’s super powers due to unavailability of policies to checkmate inflow of technologies.
He said Africans should be strategic enough to acquire, assimilate and absorb technologies coming into the continent and make them indigenous technologies.
Director General of NOTAP Dr. DanAzumi Mohammed Ibrahim who agreed with the minister said the Office, which was establish among other things, to regulate the inflow of foreign technology into the Country through the Registration of Technology Transfer Agreement, said through the registration of technology transfer agreement, NOTAP realized that there was weak Intellectual Property culture in the Nigerian knowledge Institution.
According to Ibrahim, for a Country blessed with human intellects as Nigeria, 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 through a collaboration 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.
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.