Nigeria has adopted a holistic approach to national socio-economic development in the framework of Vision 20:2020 and the National Transformation agenda.
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These national development agendas integrate S&T into the development of all key sectors of the economy and according to UNESCO, the government’s transformation agenda recognises science and technology as a tool to alleviate poverty and a catalyst for sustainable development in all sectors of the economy. (UNESCO 2012)
Subsequently, a new National STI Policy was launched in 2012 with an enhanced engagement on developing new businesses and advancing sustainable development.
The first National Science and Technology Policy for Nigeria was adopted in 1986 with the aim of using scientific and technological knowledge to ensure better quality of life for the people. The policy was reviewed in 1997, when more emphasis was placed on coordination and management of the S&T system, sectorial developments, collaboration and funding and yet again in 2003, to develop institutional frameworks to foster interaction among the various elements of the National Innovation System. The 2003 revision also gave prominence to flagship programmes of the Government such as Biotechnology, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Space Science & Technology, Energy and Engineering Materials. A system-wide reform was implemented under the Nigeria/UNESCO Science, Technology and Innovation reform initiative, and Nigeria adopted the National Innovation System approach in 2005. The reform, among other things, stressed that economic development initiatives, institutional governance, research and development agenda for the country, funding mechanisms, Intellectual Property (IP) and ST&I infrastructure development should be addressed in any revised STI policy.
The current STI Policy (2012) was designed in tandem with the “National Vision 20:2020 Economic Transformation Blueprint” to better integrate economic planning and STI, and the new STI policy has an important role in attaining the goals of the vision. (Source: Federal Ministry of Science and Technology of Nigeria). The STI policy aims to promote private sector engagement in STI in order to facilitate sound economic transformation that is citizen centred. In forging interaction within the national innovation system, the policy supports the creation and maintenance of an up-to-date, reliable and accessible database of Nigeria’s ST&I resources (human and material) and activities needed for sound economic planning and policy making.
The specific objectives of the STI Policy are:
- to facilitate the acquisition of knowledge to adapt and diffuse technologies for the growth of SMEs, agricultural development, food security, power generation and poverty reduction;
- to support organisations and institutions within a virile National Innovation System (NIS);
- to promote the creation of innovative enterprises using Nigeria’s indigenous knowledge;
- to support the promotion of locally developed technologies for the production of globally competitive goods;
- to facilitate the creation and maintenance of a reliable database on Nigeria’s ST&I resources and activities;
- to create sustain reliable mechanisms for adequate funding of ST&I activities; and
- to strengthen international cooperation in science, technology and innovation across all economic sectors.
The STI Policy acknowledges that there is a need to prioritise strategies for multi-disciplinary R&D activities geared towards the generation and diffusion of S&T knowledge for national development. Specific sectoral strategies should be implemented, amongst others, in the area of agriculture, water resources, biotechnology research, health, energy, environmental science and technology, mines and material development, ICT, space research, nanotechnologies, defence and national security, transport system, tourism and urban development (Source: Federal Ministry of Science and Technology of Nigeria). Furthermore, the STI Policy aims to address the challenges of the STI system in Nigeria, which are, amongst others, the inadequate number of scientists and researchers, the limited international cooperation, limited research funding, a poor infrastructure to support S&T and a lack of S&T inputs into national development plans. (Nacetem, 2010)
The main institutions involved in S&T Policy in Nigeria include the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST), the National Council on Science, Technology and Innovation (NCST&I), the National Assembly Committees on S&T, the States Ministries and Houses of Assemblies, research institutes and academia and the National Centre for Technology Management (NACETEM). In addition, Nigeria’s new ST&I Policy (2012) foresees the National Research and Innovation Council (NRIC) as well as the State Science, Technology and Innovation Council as key institutions within the national ST&I framework. (NACETEM, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology of Nigeria)
Source: African Innovation Outlook, NEPAD 2010