BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy in Nigeria, Ali Isa Pantami has stressed that for Africa to prosper economically, the region must play an active role in digital innovation.
The minister spoke at the commissioning of the African Centre of Excellence, at the Centre’s First Annual Lecture, titled ‘’Research, Innovation and Sustainable Development’, held at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State.
He stated that Nigeria, being the largest economy in Africa, must lead the paradigm shift from a natural resources-based economy to a knowledge-driven economy.
According to the Minister, “Africa must be an active player in the fourth industrial revolution. There is no time for us to continue to follow other developed countries. We must find the link between research and innovation, we must admit that the success rate is very high; don’t anticipate that any outcome will lead to innovation and innovation will lead to sustainable development.
“We must mentor our students, our young innovators on how to accommodate creativity. It must always be at the back of your mind while mentoring or conducting research to achieve sustainable development that the success rate is fairly insignificant. And secondly, you should not allow fear to make you believe that failure is the opposite of success. But rather failure is the strongest foundation for success.
“I have been following the innovations coming out from either the faculty of technology or the African Center of Excellence here at OAU, the output is highly commendable. We will continue to improve on that, as they say the reward for hard work is more work. This is indeed important”.
In his remark, the Director of the Centre, Ganiyu Aderounmu, disclosed that the Africa Centre of Excellence: Obafemi Awolowo University ICT-Driven Knowledge Park (OAK-Park) was established to facilitate the convergence of technological advances in various disciplines, and enhance the development, transfer and commercialization of technology and research outputs.
“Specifically, the OAK Park was established to aspire to stimulate creativity and excellence in research and innovation, and expand learning opportunities for OAU staff, students and other researchers from the region;
“Develop the next generation of scientists, researchers, teachers, entrepreneurs and product developers through appropriate practice-anchored capacity-building measures, including industrial immersion schemes. This will entail the production of a critical mass of much-needed manpower for research and innovation among others,” said the Director of the centre.
The Vice-Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University, Adebayo Bamire, said the school has undertaken giant strides in providing an enabling environment, being the leading ICT University in West Africa.
“The facilities you can see around you are major evidence! For example, the ICT facilities here at the Africa Centre of Excellence in Software Engineering for multi-site teaching, teleconferencing and e-learning besides the conventional applications, can be harnessed for remote human resource development.
Having recognized the leverage of technologies, our university had taken firm hold of its handlebar over the years, going down memory lane. This culminated in being rated as the best ICT University and the hub of outstanding research in the country,” he added.