Nigeria will host 54 participants/representatives from 54 African countries in the upcoming Focus Africa Science, Innovation and Commodity Expo billed to run from August 2 to 7, 2021.
Addressing the media on the upcoming event with the theme‘Science and innovation as a panacea for rapid transformation of Africa’s economy through local raw material processing’ billed to hold at the nation’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, the Focus Africa Series convener, Mr. Sucex Bright, said the expo would present a veritable platform to discuss the numerous challenges impeding the growth of science, technology and innovation in the continent.
Represented by the country director, Focus Africa, Hajiya Sherifat Jaji, Bright said the project was driven by young people from across the continent that were tired of the status quo and wished to contribute meaningfully to the economic, political leadership in the continent.
In his remarks, the international coordinator, Focus Africa, Dr. Linus Akepe, explained that the expo was in response to the dire need to reverse the chronic dependence of African countries on the exportation of raw materials and the importation of processed products from the same raw materials that they exported from the continent.
Akepe added the series was birthed to re-engineer the global impression of Africa and beam to the world the success stories of our hidden heros, thus bringing to the fore the rich mineral deposit, economic opportunities and cultural heritage in the continent as well as tell the authentic stories of spectacular industry leaders and brands who are raising the bar and providing to the world.
He listed targeted participants at the expo to include government-owned science, technology, and raw materials agencies from all the countries in Africa; key players in the raw materials/commodity subsector; equipment manufacturers; organized private sector; research institutions; financial institutions and youth-led tech/agriculture businesses.
Earlier in his remarks, the director-general of the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), Prof. Hussaini Ibrahim, urged all stakeholders and the private sector to rely on indigenous raw materials for industrial use to create more jobs.
Represented by the council’s director of industrial extension services department, Dr. Bola Olugbemi, Ibrahim said the creation of more employment would reduce the negative vices like banditry, insurgencies, kidnap, etc because “idle hands are the ones used to carry out such ugly activities in the society. Where they are fully engaged in what we have, crimes will definitely reduce or totally be wiped off. But unfortunately, we are sitting on resources that ought to turn the economy of this nation into a viable industry.
“We have abundance of natural resources which if Nigeria makes use of, will take us beyond consumption and expectation as well as improve the economy,” he added.