President Muhammadu Buhari has called on African countries to look inward for a better and brighter economic continent.
President Buhari who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari said this at the maiden conference of the African Forum on Research and Innovation (FARI) in Abuja.
The President said that FARI is a great road map towards commitment to research and development which he said is necessary for the diversification of socio-economic growth of the African continent, through Science, Technology and Innovation (STI).
He emphasized that in line with the theme of the conference ‘’Science, Technology and Innovation for a more Competitive ECOWAS’’ that FARI will proffer solutions to the challenges hindering the industrialization of Africa and West Africa in particular.
He further said that the new generation of active and productive talents is being discovered to contribute their quota in surmounting the challenges confronting the economic growth of the region, hence, the need to create FARI.
The President reiterated that the time to move forward and act accordingly is apt, stressing that this can only be achieved through collaboration, development of human capacity, infrastructure, and technical skills among others in the ECOWAS region.
According to President Buhari, half of the population of the West African region is 15 years old and above with an existing trait of unemployment, we need to channel their energy and creativity into acquiring skills that confront the development of our region.
To this end, Nigeria is committed to further strengthening collaboration with Science, Technology and Innovation experts as an integral part of her respective national development policies and plans.
Speaking, the Minister of Science Technology and Innovation, Dr. (Sen) Adeleke Olorunnimbe Mamora, said that the forum is initiated to improve public understanding of STIs in the region.
The Minister further said that the forum will help in creating a regular framework between researchers, and innovators as well as commercializing research results.
Earlier, the President of the ECOWAS Commission Dr Omar Alieu Touray said that STI is the driving force for structural transformation of the economy and factors of integration into the world economy.
Speaking, the Director, UNESCO Dakar regional office and OIC Abuja regional office, Dr Dimitri Sanga, said that the clock is ticking for all countries including those in Africa to reach their Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, adding that countries’ future economic growth depends on their timely transition to a digital and green society driven by STI.