Written by Samson Emmanuel.

In a bid to enhance modernized agriculture and environmental adaptation in the sub-region, the Economic Community of West African States Commission has launched the first Edition of the African forum for research and innovation to competitiveness in the region.

During the launch at the Commission’s headquarter in Abuja, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Alieu Omar Touray said research and innovation are one of the main drivers of economic growth, social well-being, and adaptation to the environment, hence the need to be proactive in order to modernize the region’s agricultural production systems for economic impact.

Dr. Alieu represented by the Commissioner for Human Development and Social Affairs, Prof. Fatou Sow Sarr, noted that making agriculture technologically driven is paramount to boosting job creation among the young people particularly as harmful and destructive pests continue to strive towards hindering food production.

“The theme of the forum is “Science, Technology, and Innovation for a more Competitive ECOWAS” which was adopted to reflect the numerous challenges in the World economy as member states.

“Innovation is at the heart of knowledge economies. It is the foundation of competitiveness and one of the main drivers of economic growth, social well-being, and adaptation to the environment. It is a factor in the modernization of agricultural production systems, the predictability of the seasons, the recognition of harmful and destructive pests, and ultimately a potential source of job creation, especially for young people by increasing the attractiveness of the agro-silvo-pastoral sector and fisheries. The crucial role, both in transforming national economies and in responding to global and regional challenges is increasingly visible and makes technologies and innovations key items on the agenda of several organizations such as the United Nations, the African Union with vision 2063, and ECOWAS with its new vision 2050.”

Adding that “FARI is the ECOWAS forum dedicated to the promotion of Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI).”

On his part, the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Adeleke Olorunnimbe Mamora, disclosed that there’s already an enabling environment to help strengthens entrepreneurs to succeed in the area of grant and mentorship programs.

“Nigeria in the science and technology space as the development of National Policy on Science, Technology, and Innovation, the establishment of Roadmap 2017-2030 and implementation plans for the development of the science sector as well as the commercialization efforts of R&D results from national research institutions.”

Meanwhile, the Head of ECOWAS Education and Science Division, Dr. Roland Kouakou, said the standards of living of any nation depend wholly on science and technology, hence the need for research and innovation for international best practices.

“Indeed, the standard of living of a nation depends to a large extent on its scientific and technological development, which implies above all the development of research and innovation. This requires a political and financial commitment from all African nations and at all levels. The convening of the African Research and Innovation Forum marks an important turning point in the promotion of science and technology at the regional level. It is a framework for strengthening regional cooperation in the science and technology sector.”

The conference is aimed at developing a common that will promote the relevance of a common agenda in the field of Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) and improve the effective application of research results and innovation for economic development.



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