Nigeria’s Minister, Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, FMSTI Senator Adeleke Mamora has called on experts in Nanotechnology development in Africa to harness its immense benefits so as to reduce overreliance on mineral resources as a source of revenue in the continent.
He made this call during the opening Ceremony of the 6th International Conference on Nanotechnology with the theme: “Nanotechnology for Socio-economic development of Africa”, held at the Headquarters of the National Space Research and Development Agency, NASRDA, in Abuja.
Senator Mamora, who appreciated the efforts of NASRDA and the Nanotechnology Research Group (NANO+) for collaborating and hosting a Conference of this magnitude, stated that, the theme is timely and most appropriate especially at this critical period where African Countries are expected to look beyond the availability of mineral resources by devising other means of staying afloat economically in the face of the present global economic meltdown.
According to him, nanotechnology and advanced Materials technology offer an enabling environment that could lead to a spectrum of innovative Products hence, the need for the ministry to inaugurate the National Nanotechnology Steering Committee to develop the National policy on Nanotechnology which will serve as a guide in the development and use of this technology in Nigeria.
He congratulated the Director General NASRDA Dr Halilu Shaba, and the Nanotechnology Group for sustaining their research activities, which should be sustained given its potential to drive the country towards its technological development aspiration.
While speaking at the event, the Permanent Secretary, FMSTI, Mrs. Monilola Udoh welcomed Participants at the conference, saying that, holding the conference in Abuja, is a that Nanotechnology has finally arrived at its proper place in Nigeria.
Mrs. Udoh, who congratulated the Director General, NASRDA, for his drive and tenacity in promoting cutting edge technological innovation, further stated that the Space Agency has no doubt become a beacon of innovation, not only in Nigeria but across the African Continent.
According to her, the theme of this Conference is in line with the dream of the ministry, which is among other things to make science and technology the most important part of the economic development in Nigeria, saying the main asset of the country is not in its resources, but in the innovative young population which can be harnessed through science and technology.
She added that Nanotechnology as an emerging field of study has enormous Potentials due to special characteristics of particles which normally appear at nanoscale.
On his part, the Director General, National Space Research and Development Agency, NASRDA, Dr. Halilu Ahmad Shaba said, the Space Agency is always anxious to work with all stakeholders in promoting the frontiers of new and emerging technology in order to provide solutions to problems that are peculiar to Nigerians using Space Science and Technology for the socio- economic development.
The NASRDA boss who congratulated the Nanotechnology Research Group for its persistence in expanding frontiers of knowledge in the area of Nanotechnology, further explained that the group was able to keep its flag flying especially in a time when most well-funded organisations and associations were finding it difficult to organize conferences because of the Covid -19 scourge.
According to him, the 6th annual Conference is a testament of the commitment and promise of this association that the quest for solutions through nanotechnology has come to stay.
He further stated, that Space Science and Technology is the significant frontier for technological innovation hence, the need to ensure result oriented collaborations to provide solutions that are beneficial to Nigeria in particular and the world at large.
Dr. Shaba further disclosed that the Space Agency’s plan as part of its roadmap to put man in space in the next few years through its Astronaut Programme so as to carry out research activities that are economically and technologically beneficial to the country.
He further stated the Space Agency has done some work in the area of synthetization of Nanoparticles which has been used to develop batteries with high storage Capacity, enhanced waterproof Cement, as well as enhanced textile materials.
In his opening remarks, the Head of the Nanotechnology Research Group who is also the co-convener of the Conference, Professor Agbaje Lateef appreciated the role of NASRDA in hosting the Conference describing this year’s conference as the first to be hosted outside the campus of the Ladoke Akintola University of technology, LAUTECH, which according to him, is a milestone in the NANO+ group’s quest to partner with stakeholders to deepen nanotechnology discourse in the country and beyond.
He stated further that the impact of nanotechnology on economic development is huge, with an estimated worth of $3 trillion in 2020, provision of about 6 million jobs and it has been predicted to account for 10% of the World’s GDP by 2030.
According to him, Africa must not be onlookers at the unfolding scenario that nanotechnology presents, adding that the time to act is now given that its applications represents potent tools that can be used to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
He called on the Federal Government to finalize the passage of Nanotechnology Policy by establishing an Agency to drive nanotechnology agenda for the country and also dedicate funds for its Promotion.
The Nanotechnology group is an assembly of experts and researchers in the field of nanotechnology under the auspices of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomosho, Osun state.