By Isaac Aregbesola
Dr Mustapha Popoola, Executive Director/Global Impact Lead of Research for Impact and Knowledge Economy for Sustainable Development (RIKESD), says Nigeria can earn more than N10 trillion annually through a knowledge-based economy.
Popoola said this at the inauguration of the organisation on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said that the nation’s economy could be boosted by attracting Foreign Direct Investment ( FDI) through research funding into the country.
Popoola said that there was a need for government and private organisations, to invest in capacity building to enhance the development of knowledge- based economy
He said that there was no way to solve the nation’s economic problem without productivity.
”Until we have those things that we are producing either in knowledge-based or elsewhere.
”Once that happens across board it is not about categorization, everybody can sit down, you can see many innovations coming from various communities, the moment you have those little contributions, that is how to build the economy.”
According to him, what we are trying to do is to ensure that we harness all of that.
”In essence we are looking at a captivating knowledge-based economy that can contribute nothing less than N10 trillion to the economy per annum to our national income.
”The national budget today is about N20 trillion. We don’t know what the budget of the new government will be, that is without the knowledge-based economy.
”If we look at the digital economy and innovation alone it is very huge; assuming we now expand the whole knowledge economy, not only digital.
“We are talking about research in agriculture, in space, in the automotive industry, green economy, circular economy,
”We now aggregate that we are confident that N10 trillion naira will be got legally in Nigeria with the contribution of everybody in Nigeria in their little way, ” he said.
He said that was the way the firm believed the economy should be disaggregated.
”That is why we are now coming up with this initiative to partner with government, industry, academia and funder.
”We want the funder to be interested in Nigeria, why they are running away is because when they fund they are not impactful,” he said.
The Finland Ambassador to Nigeria, Leena Pylvänäinen harped on the need to make innovation a sustainable development
“Finland is a country of innovation; Finland is constantly ranked as one of the most innovative countries in Europe.
“So we know and fully appreciate what today is about making innovation in our sustainable development,” she said.
The former Executive Secretary of TETFund, Prof Suleima Bogoro harped on the need for the country to invest in research to sustain its food security
According to him, one of the area’s one of the area’s president declared what are the causes of emergency? Security, national security and food security and that tells you the importance of food security.
”And unfortunately, the National insecurity has so badly affected food production and in fact has very sadly, retarded and destabilize the process of ensuring Nigeria gets food self-sufficiency, but more importantly, food security.
“For most nations, just talk about Finland now, with what Finland is today the economy of Finland that we see from the distance is largely agro based.
“And I think we have lessons to learn from that because look at all the manufacturing activities out there.
“Look at the products in our groceries, take a look, you will know that most of the raw materials are agro-based,” he said.
According to him, that is a message in just the case if you wonder why Nigeria will have the advantage in agriculture case as it were, the advantage is that our climate is convenient for tropical and temperate crops growth as well as the rearing of temperate and tropical animals.
“That is it because we have some of Nigeria’s region cold, cold enough to have temperate varieties of crops and, breeds of animals what that shows also, we stretch from the marine or the ocean to the desert belt.
“So we have all the advantages in that in that regard. Whatever types of crops we want to do, that maybe cross breeds, in most cases in the context of breeding now we encourage that we do the best for our indigenous breeds develop the environment for them nutritionally and all that best for them to compete with our temperate varieties of crops as well as the breeds of animals.
“So we have a challenge. Once a nation cannot feed itself, it is already a problem.
I still will never forget, I like to cite what happened to Soviet Union USSR of Soviet Union, I still remember was consequent to lack of bread on the table of the poor.
“Bread became too expensive for the poor, hunger was, therefore, the driving factor that led to the protests and balkanization disintegration of the Soviet Union.
“The center could not hold. This is a message for Nigeria,” he said(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Joseph Edeh