Nigeria, SA, DTCA To Partner On STI Development

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The director-general, National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion, Dr. DanAzumi Ibrahim (sixth from left) and the director-general, Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa, Amb. Rabiu Dagari flanked by staff of both agencies when the directorate paid a courtesy call on the office at its headquarters in Abuja.

Nigeria, South Africa and the Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa (DTCA) are set to enter into a partnership to strengthen research for science, technology and innovation development in Africa.

The partnership which will be facilitated by the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) on behalf of Nigeria and the Africa Institute of South Africa (AISA) on behalf of South Africa will be supported by the DTCA for the rapid transformation of African Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) and indigenous knowledge into products and services for the socio-political and economic benefit of Africans.

The tripartite agreement would ensure a common platform to share scientific knowledge between South African and Nigerian researchers, leading to enhanced scientific and socio-economic development in Africa.

Receiving a delegation from AISA led by the director-general of DTCA, Amb. Rabiu Dagari, the director-general of NOTAP, Dr. DanAzumi Ibrahim said AISA shared a similar vision with NOTAP in promoting the development of indigenous research activities.

He said NOTAP was established 30 years ago to regulate the inflow of foreign technology into the country and motivate indigenous technology development and has developed several programmes and projects to ensure technological growth in Nigeria.

Ibrahim pointed out that many Nigerian researchers develop academic papers for promotion purposes but, most of them are not tailored towards providing solutions to critical problems. He noted that, as a result, NOTAP initiated the Intellectual Property Technology Transfer Offices (IPTTOs) in Nigerian universities and research institutes, with the support of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) to ensure that research activities are tailored towards solving problems.

The NOTAP boss said, so far, the office has established 62 IPTTOs which are contributing positively to the emergence of many patents from Nigerian researchers before they were established. He noted that 65 per cent of patent certificates released by the patent registry in recent times came through NOTAP’s intervention in assisting researchers to file and patent their inventions and innovations at no cost.

Also, Ibrahim informed the delegation that the office has established the NOTAP-Industry Technology Transfer Fellowship (NITTF) programme to ensure the development of critical manpower through PhD programmes sponsored by the industry to solve critical challenges. He said a total of 23 candidates have enrolled in the programme and that the NOTAP is also upgrading research laboratories with the support of the industry.

He said NOTAP is passionate about the development of Africa and this was why the office frowns at the continuous reliance of the continent on imported technologies and has initiated deliberate policies to build the capacity of researchers. He commended AISA for initiating the Africa Continental Research Foundation (ACRF), pointing out that it will be critical in translating African research and development (R&D) outputs into products and services.

Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Dagari said the two top research fellows from AISA are in NOTAP to seek collaboration on science, technology and innovation development, an area which is critical for economic liberation, good governance and the much-needed security for the continent.

He said the visit holds much promise for the rapid development of South Africa, Nigeria and, by extension, Africa when a memorandum of understanding (MoU) is put in place.

In his remarks, the research director AISA, Dr. Thokozani Simelane said the institute was established 51 years ago and has been at the forefront of research and training on African affairs and how to make the continent great through enormous contributions in knowledge.

He said AISA wants to share ideas with Nigeria through collaboration with NOTAP to ensure the technological advancement of the continent and the MoU being proposed by AISA is all-encompassing with education, free flow of humans and the African Continental Research Foundation as vehicles to achieve this.

The visiting international research fellow AISA and former president, African University of Science and Technology Abuja, Professor Hilary Inyang said since the world is heading for the 4th industrial revolution, there is a great need for Africa to utilise its inherent knowledge to grow goods and services for the benefit of the continent.

He opined that the intellectual system is a mother of invention and stressed that Africa needs intellectual independence to complement political independence to make any headway in the developments we aspire for in Africa, to catch up with the rest of the world.

Inyang noted that South Africa cannot achieve much without Nigeria and there is a great need for Africa to create a continental research system and close some international markets for indigenous technologies to grow and engage the intellect of African nations, especially those that survive on foreign aid.

He revealed that much of the ideas for development have been seeded in South Africa through the National Research Foundation (NRF) and that Africa can no longer wait for solutions from Europe, China or U.S.A, as most of her small businesses innovation programmes have huge potentials of encouraging the rapid development of the continent, as is the case with the USA.

A statement by the head, public relations and protocol, NOTAP, Solomon Nshem said a memorandum of understanding (MoU) is expected to be drafted and signed by NOTAP, AISA and DTCA to formalise the working partnership.

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