COVID-19 is wake-up call for Nigeria to innovate, UNESCO says
The United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has said that the global COVID-19 pandemic is a wake-up call for the Nigerian government and other countries to invest and build robust science, technology, and innovation (STI) ecosystems.
Director, Dakar Regional Office and Officer In Charge, Abuja Regional Office, Dr. Dimitri Sanga, who stated this at the capacity building on STI policy in Abuja, noted that reports have shown that countries that responded to the epidemic, mobilised scientific, social, and industrial capabilities of their country and international scientific coalition through open access to scientific knowledge and information data sharing and evidence-based policy decision making.
He observed that this interdimensional STI ecosystem is in many developing nations, especially Africa is either weak or inadequate.
Sanga said that for STI to work for sustainable development and address ongoing challenges, appropriate STI policy frameworks need to be developed, adding at UNESCO provides technical advice, methodologies, and guidance to governments on the design, monitoring, and implementation of STI policies as an integral part of national development of policies and plans.
He noted that the 2030 agenda with its set 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs), adopted by the international community in 2015, recognized the central role played by STI in fostering sustainable development globally and in the continental level and line with the Agenda 2030, the African Union Agenda 2063 has been developed with a focus on STI to among others, accelerate the socio-economic transformation of the continent.
Also speaking, Minister of State for Science and Technology, Mohammed Abdullahi, said that the STI sub-sector is a fun catalyst for industrialization, adding that the present administration had resolved to use the STI tool in driving other sectors of the economy.
He observed that the STI sector recorded giant strides in the eight years of the implementation of the extant National STI Policy, especially in sectors such as solar technology development, leather and leather products development, material science and technology, road research, biotechnology capacity development, engineering/technology development infrastructure among others.
The minister, who advocated for the establishment of Research and Development Bank to close the gap in the absence of venture capitalist to support the commercialisation of research and development findings
He said: “Policy implementation is a bridge that allows the objectives of public policies to be achieved and expressed as outcomes of government activities. This implementation is also a measure of Inputs in terms of mourns; outputs In terms of the decision taken by the implementing government and outcomes (deliverables). For effective implementation of policy, there is a need to take certain strategic actions which can include but not limited to creating awareness, developing monitoring indicators, garnering state-level cooperation/collaboration and ensuring critical stakeholder participation.”