President, African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has called on the Federal Government to devout 20 per cent of its oil earnings to science, technology and innovation.
He also called on government to create a National Science and Innovation Fund that would drive the process of transforming the country technologically. Adesina spoke yesterday, at the 13th Convocation Ceremony of Bowen University, in Iwo, Osun State. He charged universities in the country to shift away from rote teaching into allowing students to experiment, try things, put ideas to work and innovate.
“Nigeria needs to set up a National Science and Innovation Fund, devoting about 20 per cent of its oil earnings to driving innovation for the faster tech-enabled growth of Nigeria to power the Nigeria of the future,” he said.He listed other things the country needs to do to include supporting all students in universities to become entrepreneurs. “Not only grades should matter. All must pass the entrepreneurship requirement. That way, universities become knowledge transmitters, as well as entrepreneur developers.”
Adesina also said universities should set up technology business incubator and innovation hubs and be connected to venture capital and angel investors.
According to him, governments should set up financial systems that support young people. “Instead of talking about youth empowerment, we should focus on youth investment for the future. Governments should set up Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks.”He added that private sector should be encouraged to locate research, technology and innovation centres on university campuses where students could have internships, while universities should set up endowed funds to invest in ventures of their students.
Adesina said universities need to have structured institutional arrangements for supporting innovations, stressing that in the U.S, universities set up offices for innovation development and commercialisation of innovations developed by universities. The AfDB president explained further that developing patents in universities is not enough, insisting, “patents must lead to business and that can only happen through supportive environments for them to thrive. Setting up university foundries is a good way to achieving this.”