The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Sen. Adeleke Mamora has stressed the need for effective and result oriented collaborations and synergies amongst countries that share coastal boundaries with the Atlantic Ocean, in order to maximize its potential gains for the socio-economic development of their respective countries.
Mamora made this call during his address at a workshop organized by the Atlantic International Research Centre and the Centre for Space Innovation and Development (CSID) in collaboration with Eureka through Globalstars held at the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) headquarters in Abuja.
The minister emphasised that, the dearth of information and data in respect of Atlantic Ocean led the Portuguese Government to commence a diplomatic process of encouraging countries bordering the Atlantic Ocean to collaborate towards studying the ocean in a network tagged “Atlantic Interactions” which was what gave birth to the establishment of the Atlantic International Research (AIR) Centre.
According to him, the Nigerian Government joined other well-meaning countries after considering the huge benefits it will derive as part of the network to study the ocean as well as the role it is expected to play in ensuring the smooth operations of the exercise for the benefit of the society.
Represented by the ministry’s director, science technology and promotion, Alhaji Shuaibu Umar, Mamora highlighted the benefits of the Atlantic interactions to include but not limited to; understanding the Atlantic Ocean system and its natural resources for a healthy and productive ocean, increase in the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix as well as improvement in energy efficiency and understanding, predicting and adapting to climate change and atmospheric dynamics for developmental benefits.
In his welcome address, the NASRDA director-general, Dr. Halilu Shaba said the Atlantic International Research Centre is network for international cooperation along and across the Atlantic with an integrative approach.
The NASRDA boss represented by the managing director of Geoapps, Plus Limited, Dr. David Jeb, gave the historical background of the AIR Centre, and explained that its establishment was for the purpose of developing and ensuring proper implementation of research activities that have direct bearing on the Atlantic ecosystem.
He appreciated the efforts made by the AIR Centre in collaborating with relevant stakeholders like Eureka, which according to him is pursuing technology innovation start-ups, financing and business uptake which will help in harnessing the ideals for formulation of functional strategic multilateral and international collaboration for business and technology innovation synergy.
Shaba, therefore, pledged NASRDA’s support towards the activities of the Centre, stating that it was in line with a policy of the Ministry, which is poised towards enhancement of technological innovation for mainstreaming of small and medium business enterprises, which is expected to form the bedrock and driver of economies across the globe.
In her keynote address the director, Atlantic International Research Centre (AIR), Dr. Asma Ibrahim, explained that the Nigeria was one of the countries chosen to form partnerships and collaboration with Eureka member countries, and its operation was through the mechanism of Globalstars.
She explained that the AIR Centre became interested in identifying Nigerian entrepreneurs who are into the innovative technology sector and looking into new innovative products with the potential for societal and even destructive impact.
According to her, one of the conditions for collaborating with Eureka, is to have a national funding body which is an authority that could be responsible for vetting and funding potential applicants once they are identified.
She said the government sectors of the economy were also approached because some of the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) have huge funding potentials and challenges which can only be solved by embracing the current technologies and partnering with technology hubs.
Ibrahim added that innovation and technology are fundamental for Nigeria to be able to compete in a global framework, and one of the key factors to achieve this is promoting the development of the digital economy in Nigeria by establishing Information Technology Centres, where business, innovation and entrepreneurship are nurtured and supported.
She enumerated some of the objectives of the workshop to include the introduction of Eureka to a broader spectrum of stakeholders, the exposure of Nigerian tech and startups as well as SMEs to the possibilities of international collaborations and also, to ensure that Nigeria becomes a member of the Eureka family in the nearest future.
A statement by Daniel Abdullahi from NASRDA’s media and corporate communications, said Eureka is the world’s biggest public network for international cooperation in research and development as well as innovative activities. It is present in over forty-five countries and has a flexible mode of funding its activities.