Promoting the development of Indigenous Technology in Nigeria as AU observes African Day for Technology and I P
The 13th September of every year is commemorated in all African countries as African Day for Technology and Intellectual Property. This is in compliance with the resolution made by the then Organization of African Unity (OAU) now African Union (AU) council of Ministers and Assembly of Heads of State and Governments which in July, 1999, at Addis Ababa-Ethiopia, enjoined all African nations to use the day to arouse the latent inventive, creative and innovative spirit of Africans in order to facilitate the acceleration of technological development in the continent.
The General Secretariat of the AU, after due consultations, concluded that the objectives of the resolution would be best achieved through the commemoration of the Day in all the member states, at various tiers of government, through activities such as exhibitions, open lectures, competitions and awards of excellence on indigenous technology development initiatives. It is on this note that the efforts of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology through the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) are being brought to public consciousness.
NOTAP was established to facilitate the acquisition of technology into Nigeria. This mandate is implemented through the evaluation, registration and monitoring of all technology transfer agreements signed by Nigerian entrepreneurs with their foreign technical partners to ensure that the terms and conditions of the agreements are equitable, fair and commensurate and are well aligned with the capacity and capability of the Nigerian Innovation system.
While carrying out its functions and activities, NOTAP makes concerted efforts to promote the development of locally motivated technologies through the linkage of industry with the National Innovation System (NIS) in the area of scientific Research and Development(R&D), promotion of Intellectual Property Rights(IPR) and commercialization of R&D results.
From available records in the last five years, a total of USD 118.5 million, equivalent to N18.9 billion was remitted to foreign licensors on software license agreements registered by NOTAP. Though there are Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora who have demonstrated ICT capabilities especially in software development, lack of awareness of their breakthroughs has hampered their patronage as all software deployed by the various sectors of the economy, particularly the financial sector were foreign. It is against this background that NOTAP institutionalized the annual national workshop and exhibition on software licensing and development.
As at present, NOTAP has established 30 Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Offices (IPTTOs) in research institutes and institutions of higher learning across the country. The IPTTOs were established in the knowledge centres to encourage market oriented and demand driven research, promote intellectual property protection and to strengthen the linkage between industry, universities and research institutes.
In its effort to promote the development of indigenous technologies, NOTAP also introduced the Technology Storyboard Initiative which is an STI awareness building and an educational tool for the primary and secondary school levels. This technology teaching tool is aimed at sensitizing the Nigerian child on STI. The tool gives a step-by-step pictorial representation of the production process of a given product from the raw material stage to the final product.
NOTAP in collaboration with the Nigerian National Merit Award (NNMA) and with the support and cooperation of the Federal and state ministries of education, science and technology institutionalized the Intellectual Property Capacity Building Programme in Secondary Schools which is aimed at developing the innovation and intellectual capacity of the youths.
Through plans initiated by NOTAP with the partnership of Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS) and other stakeholders, the Abuja International Airport Road would be transformed into the largest Science and technology Park in Africa to be known as Africa’s Premier Innovation Corridor (APIC). The objective of establishing APIC are, among others, to enhance synergy between relevant science and technology stakeholders located in the area as well as promote the use of R&D for the economic development of Nigeria.
The Nigeria Inventor TV Reality show is a television programme created by NOTAP to enhance market driven research leading to the commercialization of intellectual property products. NOTAP has reached an agreement with Elated Bliss Holland and other local media institutions to execute the programme.
In view of the need to evolve and coordinate a process of producing the needed critical mass of highly skilled knowledge workers in the academia that would evolve innovations needed in industry, NOTAP has established a research fund known as NOTAP Industry Fund where industry would “voluntarily” contribute resources to support Nigerians in PhD studies, strategic managerial skills development and help in the provision of key technology acquisition R&D facilities in tertiary institutions.
The onerous task before all Africans as we commemorate the 13 of September as African Day for Technology and Intellectual Property is to strive to transform our continent from a committee of technology consumers to that of a technology producing people.