The Federal Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation (FMSTI) in conjunction with Across Atlantic Development (AAD) United Kingdom has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop and establish a Science and Technology Park, as well as Science Museum at Sheda Science and Technology Complex (SHESTCO) Abuja.
This partnership was initiated through the private-public partnership (PPP) initiative, with AAD pledging to provide the required funding for the development of the SHESTCO Science and Technology Park.
Speaking at the signing ceremony held at the ministry’s headquarters, the Minister of Science Technology and Innovation, Sen. Adeleke Mamora revealed that the ministry has been promoting the establishment of science and technology parks in Nigeria since 2006. After conducting a nationwide survey to identify the science, engineering, technology and innovation (SETI) landscape of the country, six science parks were initially proposed, one in each geo-political zone. However, the focus was later shifted to the establishment of a model science and technology park at Sheda Science and Technology Complex (SHESTCO), Abuja, where 79.5 hectares of land was provided.
The minister emphasised that the implementation of the signing of the MoU must be achieved to create more jobs for the youths through the science park. He assured stakeholders that the ministry was already partnering with institutions and development partners locally and internationally to assist in the implementation of the SHESTCO Science and Technology Park.
The Minister of State, Science Technology and Innovation, Chief Henry Ikoh stated that STI is a key element of the micro-small and medium-scale enterprises strategy and action. He noted that the SHESTCO Science and Technology Park would serve as a model for replication by state governments, universities, the private sector and other organisations interested in establishing science and technology parks. He tasked stakeholders to take specific actions and initiatives to achieve the desired objectives of mainstreaming STI in the national development agenda.
In his speech, the director-general of SHESTCO, Prof. Paul Onyenekwe stated that SHESTCO has provided a strong science base for the takeoff of the park. He stressed that a Science and Technology Park of this magnitude is expected to consist of supporting infrastructure for its establishment and development to achieve the desired goal of springing up knowledge-based enterprises.
The CEO of AAD, Dr. David Apollos, disclosed that the science park is a multi-million-dollar project that will move the country forward through STI. He revealed that it had obtained 90 per cent of the project fund, with the EU providing over 70 per cent of the funds. He emphasised that leadership is required to implement the project collectively by stakeholders.
The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology developed the National Science, Technology and Innovation Roadmap (NSTIR) 2030 to serve as Nigeria’s strategic plan for the creation and deployment of STI utilities to national development initiatives, programmes and projects. The overall aim of the roadmap is to deploy STI as the key driver and catalyst for Nigeria’s long-term sustainable economic development, consistent with the National Policy on Science, Technology and Innovation 2012, which was reviewed in 2022.
In conclusion, the partnership between FMSTI and AAD is a significant milestone in the promotion of STI in Nigeria. The establishment of a science and technology park and science museum at SHESTCO Abuja would provide the platform for innovation and the competitiveness of its business and knowledge-based institutions, thus increasing the wealth of its immediate community and the country at large.