…Says research leads to innovation, economic growth
Africa which is trailing the Western world in most developmental indices and technology is said to be slow on growth due to the continent’s poor attention to research activities.
More than 50% of the wealth created in developed countries emanated from technology which is typically a product of Research and Development either funded by industries or government, Emeka Oguzie, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Development and Innovation in FUTO has said.
Oguzie who spoke at the biennial lecture of Federal University of Technology, Owerri, and FUTO Alumni Association recently in Lagos believed that there cannot be meaningful development without research and development.
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The researcher sees the correlation between the top leading economies and the volume of their investment in research. A data of 2023 presented, showed that USA invested $581.6 b, followed by China with investment on R&D of $554.5b.
Other leading economies with high investment in research are $176.8, Germany $137.9, Korea Republic $99.6, India $68.2, France $66.8 and UK$52.1.
Nigeria also ranks low on Global Innovation Index, ranking 114 position among 132 economies. The country also ranks 29 among36 middle-low income group economies and it ranks 13 among Sub-Saharan Africa.
Oguzie also noted that business enterprises and government lead the investment in research and development in other countries which has produced results for them.
But in Africa, apart from a few countries such as South Africa, Morocco, Gabon and Eswathni where the business enterprise is leading in research and development, government is leading in other economies including Nigeria with poor results and minimal impact.
Speaking on the Alumni topic ‘Harnessing technological innovations for sustainable development in Nigeria’, Oguzie said there cannot be economic development without science and technology. He said Nigeria has been pursuing economic development based on natural resources mainly for oil and gas and minimally from science and technology.
He said while share of GDP devoted to R&D activities in North America and Western Europe average 2.5% and 2.1 for East Asia, it has remained constant at 1.01% between 2014 and 2018 for Africa but, in Sub-Saharan Africa, it dropped from 0.44% to 0.42%.
He regretted that research in Nigeria is largely self-funded or funded from universities who are equally poorly funded by the government.
He recalled a story in a national newspaper that between 2019 and 2022, a total sum of N2,009,844,525,918 has been budgeted for Research and Development across the ministries department and agencies (MDAs). He asked for the result of this budget
It is also worrisome that most researches are not for economic development but for promotion and publication by lecturers, he said.
He identified hindrances to the to the lack investment in research and development to include negligible industry investment and involvement in research, misplaced focus on increasing importation of capital goods and foreign direct investment, poor renumeration and incentives to researchers, poor capacity and inadequate skills.
Others are unstable regulations and policies and lack of public policies that support innovations, Societal apathy and recruiting the wrong people to manage affairs
Oguzie called for collaboration between government, industry and academia to produce research results that will impact industry and governance.