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Minister urges Atlantic Ocean boundary countries to make maximum utilisation

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Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI),  Dr Adeleke Mamora has  called for effective collaboration among boundary countries of the Atlantic Ocean to maximise its potential for socio-economic development.

Mamora made the call at a workshop organised by the Atlantic International Research Centre (AIR), Centre for Space Innovation and Development (CSID), in collaboration with Eureka, through GlobalStar, a US satellite communication company.

Mamora was represented by Mr Shuaibu Umar, Director, Science Technology and Promotion, while the workshop was held at the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) Abuja.

He recalled that dearth of data about the Atlantic Ocean spurred the Portuguese Government to commence a diplomatic process of encouraging countries bordering the Atlantic Ocean to collaborate towards studying the ocean.

The study, he said, was tagged: “Atlantic Interactions’’, that further birthed the establishment of the AIR centre.

“The Nigerian government joined other countries after considering the huge benefits it will derive as part of the network to study the ocean.

“The benefits of the Atlantic Interactions include understanding the Atlantic Ocean system and its natural resources for a healthy and productive ocean.

“It is expected to increase the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix as well as improve energy efficiency and understanding.

“It will help in predicting and adapting to climate change and atmospheric dynamics for developmental benefits,’’ he said.

The Director-General of NASRDA, Dr Halilu Shaba, said the AIR centre was the network for international cooperation along and across the Atlantic when an integrative approach was deployed.

Represented by Dr David Jeb, Director, Geo-Apps Plus Limited, Shaba said the AIR centre was created for developing and ensuring proper implementation of research activities that related to the Atlantic ecosystem.

He appreciated the centre for collaborating with relevant stakeholders to strengthen technology innovation start-ups, financing and business uptake.

According to him, it will help in harnessing the ideas for formulation of functional strategic multilateral and international collaboration for business and technology innovation synergy.

Shaba also pledged NASRDA’s support towards the activities of the centre, stating that it was in line with a policy of the Ministry.

“The ministry is poised towards enhancement of technological innovation for mainstreaming of small and medium business enterprises, which is expected to form the bedrock and driver of economies across the globe.’’

Dr Asma Ibrahim, Director of AIR centre, explained that the AIR centre became interested in identifying Nigerian entrepreneurs who were into the innovative technology sector because the talents abound.Ibrahim added that they were looking into new innovative products with the potential for societal and disruptive impact as well as add value to the digital economy agenda of the country.

She further said they collaborated with Eureka to have a national funding body as an authority responsible for vetting and funding potential applicants once identified.

“Innovation and technology are fundamental for Nigeria to be able to compete in a global framework.

“One of the key factors to achieve this is by promoting the development of the digital economy in Nigeria by establishing IT centres, where business, innovation and entrepreneurship are nurtured and supported.’’

Ibrahim said the workshop was aimed at introducing Eureka to more stakeholders, exposing Nigerian tech and start-ups, Small and Medium Enterprises for possible international collaborations, among other objectives.

Eureka is the world’s biggest public network for international cooperation in research and development as well as innovative activities.

The network is present in over 45 countries and has a flexible mode of funding its activities. (NAN)

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