Opinion

Nigeria, Cuba MoA on technology transfer

A s the days unfold, it becomes clearer that technology has come to stay within the global space, and likely to emerge in the nearest future as the only panacea to mankind’s numerous challenges.

 

This is the reason any country that’s still currently sceptical over tech prowess, might get lost as it strives towards solving its national peculiar plights. In April, 2022, Nigeria reportedly signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Cuba to implement actions on contract manufacturing, technology transfer, vaccine production and commercialisation of the Cuban biopharmaceutical products in Nigeria. The Nigeria’s Ambassador to Cuba, Benaoyagha Okoyen, in a statement made available to newsmen in New York, disclosed that the two countries equally agreed to partner in other areas.

 

He said both countries expressed interest to implement actions for the development of partnership, particularly in projects for scientific cooperation, academic collaboration, co-development agreements and licensing of innovative products. Mr. Okoyen and the President of the Cuban Group of Biotechnological and Pharmaceutical Industries (BIOCUBAFARMA), Eduardo Diaz, who represented the Republic of Cuba, signed the Expression of Interest Document.

 

According to the envoy, Nigeria signed the document with Cuba at the just concluded 2022 BIOHAVANA International Conference held from April 25 to 29, 2022 in Havana. He further hinted, “The Embassy of Nigeria in Havana, through the leadership of the Ambassador played a significant role in taking the Nigerian delegation through the different stages of their participation in the conference, including the coordination of several relevant side meetings.

 

“The delegation included participants from the Ministry of Health; National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC); Federal Ministry of Science and Innovation; Sheda Science and Technology Complex; National Biotechnology Development Agency; Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka; and the West African Health Organisation (WAHO).”

 

It’s noteworthy that the BIOCUBAFARMA, the organizer of the conference, is the Cuban Government business organization that produces drugs, equipment, and services through scientific and technical development to improve the health of the popu- Opinion lation and the production of exportable goods and services and advanced technologies in food production. Delegates from over 50 countries witnessed the signing of 18 agreements by 12 countries, including Nigeria, Australia, Russia, Germany, Japan, Canada, South Korea and Turkey.

 

It’s a right and great move as was taken by the Nigeria’s Ambassador to Cuba, Mr. Okoyen in line with the directive of the Federal Government (FG).

 

This is one of the lofty activities expected of a high commissioner serving in any country across the globe. As an incumbent ambassador, you are required to look inwards to discover the areas the country you are serving in, is into and known for, with a view to working out modalities on how best they could be of benefit to Nigeria, or your country of origin, as the case may be.

 

Anybody who truly intends to grow, or become greater, in a certain area, must be ready to leverage on the activity of other people who have gone beyond them in the areas in question. However, the move shouldn’t stop at that juncture.

 

The concerned authorities, on the part of Nigeria, must endeavour to put the talk into actions, to ensure the needed growth and development is actualized soonest without further ado. Furthermore, the area that’s specifically of interest to me, as a tech personnel and concerned citizen, is the ‘technology transfer’.

 

The government needs to strive towards ensuring they don’t just partner on commercializing other countries’ products, but ought to make efforts to domesticate the services involved herein. Hence, the FG must go extra mile to see that Nigeria isn’t dependent on what is being produced elsewhere.

 

The facilities and services that guarantee availability of the products in question must be domesticated within the shores of the country. We, as a people, must be genuinely willing to transfer the technological strength of other nations, particularly in the areas of medicine, engineering and pharmacology.

 

These areas are key for any existing country that intends to grow and diversify its economy. The environment needs to be enabling to encourage them establish their patents in the country, so our talents can emulate from the available human resources in a bid to developing theirs. Away from keeping the ground safe for foreigners, it’s equally pertinent to work toward promoting our countless indigenous patents.

 

 

It’s not anymore news that many of these patents, yet to be utilized, are found in various institutions and establishments across the Nigerian State. This is to say, if the needful is aptly done, the governments at all levels needn’t depend on the services or expertise of foreigners. Since they are readily available among our own, what’s expected of the governments is to motivate them by creating the required facilities and funds or what have you. If we failed to utilize our own, I’m afraid, they might be greatly lost to other countries that appreciate their prowess.

 

This is why brain drain is presently on the rampage, and continues to soar as the days unfold. In a nut shell, rather than thinking about how to transfer other people’s tech value, we need to create ours. Time has come when Nigeria needs to boast of a certain product she is known for across the global community. It’s time someone somewhere would say, ‘Nigeria is the only, or major, country that produces this product’.

 

Don’t we have what it takes? We do, of course. The natural resources abound. The country is also endowed with the needed human resources. The financial strength or muscle is equally readily available, though self-centredness of the political leaders continues to showcase paucity of funds.

 

This is the reason the electorate, in their entirety, are required to think outside the box while electing the next set of leaders come 2023.

 

They must do this, to avert the foreseen total collapse of the country’s tech-value. Nigeria is in need of leaders who can create something from nothing; leaders who can transform potentials into marketable products; leaders that truly understand the real language of creativity; leaders that acknowledge the true meaning of ‘knowledge is power’; leaders that would serve as stewards, not rulers; above all, leaders who know their onus.

 

Thus, another time has conspicuously arrived for Nigerians to take the decision that might mar or make Nigeria, tech wise. Think about it!

 

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