Mr Mohammed Abdullahi, Minister of State for Science and Technology, says Nigeria has what it takes to advance and connect with opportunities offered by international partnerships to enhance its development as a nation.
Abdullahi said this in a keynote address he delivered virtually from Abuja, at the ongoing two-day national workshop on science diplomacy, organised by the National Centre for Technology Management (NACETEM).
However, he said, before this could be achieve, a lot more needed to be done, as he highlighted the place of Science, Technology and Innovation(STI) and the role of international relations in Nigeria’s sustainable development.
The minister said that in the current global village, where every nation is bound to operate, knowledge remained the greatest capital driven by science, technology and innovation.
“Every nation that is serious and focused on developing this capital must invest in science, technology and innovation development at home.
“Connecting home-grown advancements in STI to opportunities offered by global partnerships must also be driven by strategic international diplomatic relations.
“Joining these dots is most essential for sustainable development in the current era,” Abdullahi said.
Also speaking, Prof. Okechukwu Ukwuoma, Director General of NACETEM , said that the March 9 – 10 workshop was Nigeria’s attempt to project influence and importance on a global scale, through the scientific community.
Ukwuoma said the workshop was organised to assess how the country could effectively use science and diplomacy to achieve sustainable development, particularly during this new normal caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The disruption necessitated by the outbreak of COVID-19 has made it apparent that nations of the world need not just cooperate, but also deploy science to pragmatically address global challenges.
“No doubt, the world is changing as a result of new challenges, ranging from climate change, outbreak of new diseases, among others, and we cannot afford to fold our arms,” he said.
Ukwuoma also said that cutting edge knowledge in science, technology and innovation needed to be constantly deployed, in conjunction with political gladiators, diplomats and scientists from across the globe.
The NACETEM DG said those people needed to come together to mitigate the ever increasing and constantly occurring challenges in the world.
He stressed that the workshop was not an end in itself, but a means to an end, adding that it was a starting point for the next phase of having a science diplomacy network.
Ukwuoma added that this was considered a shift in thinking, to underscore the importance of better integrating the communities of science and diplomacy in novel ways.
“It is time to adjust to a world in which developments in science and technology move rapidly and affect relationships and interactions at bilateral, regional and global scales,” Ukwuoma said.