Director General of Nigeria’s National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) Dr. Umar Bindir stated this while addressing participants at the Committee for Development, Information, Science and Technology, CODIST in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, UNECA, the meeting brought together scientists, legislators, policy makers and members of the civil society from all parts of Africa.
In a keynote address, Dr Bindir advocated for the creation of strong linkages between scientists and policy makers, urging scientists to speak the language that political leaders can appreciate by communicating clearly how Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) can translate to societal priorities such as job creation, human capital development and access to clean water among others.
He suggested for instance that manpower development should be written into every technological transfer agreement while all plants and machineries must be imported as Completely Knocked Down (CKD) components to allow for local participation in their assembly, operation and maintenance.
He told the audience that Nigeria is now actively involved in several STI initiatives such biotechnology, space research, pharmaceuticals, alternative energy sources and other cutting-edge research efforts.
He however advised African governments against what he described as stand-alone STI policies. He urged all African governments to create a National Research Council to be headed personally by the Head of State with membership made up of political heads of science consuming sectors such as education, agriculture, health as well as science and technology itself.
Dr Bindir also advocated for the creation of a research development fund to pool and consolidate funds hanging in various governmental funding agencies, corporate social responsibility initiatives and private foundations.
The meeting which is second in the series also featured the launching of the African Interparliamentary Forum on Science Technology and Innovation aimed getting African legislators to become more involved in designing national and continental agenda on STI.