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TECHNOLOGY

ECREEE, GGGI Announce $75m For ECOWAS Renewable Energy Facility 2030

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The ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), in collaboration with its partners organised the 7th Edition of the ECOWAS Sustainable Energy Forum (ESEF 2022), from 31st October to 1st November 2022 in Abuja Nigeria with the theme, “Achieving Sustainable Energy Targets in the ECOWAS Region: Moving from Resilience to Transition!.” The Forum convened to discuss and proffer solutions to the challenges hampering the development of a regional sustainable energy market, examine policies needed to improve energy security and achieve Sustainable Development goal (SDG 7) and what is needed to transition to a low-carbon energy trajectory in the region.

In this framework, to address the ECOWAS region’s challenges in enabling access to renewable energy, ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) are proposing to establish a new blended finance facility of USD 75 million called the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Facility 2030 (EREF) to support small and medium sized renewable energy and energy efficiency (RE&EE) projects and businesses in rural and peri-urban areas of the ECOWAS member countries.
EREF 2030 will build on the learnings from the previous EREF facilities: EREF-1 launched in 2011, EREF-2 launched in 2014 and EREF-3 launched in 2018.
The goal of the ‘EREF 2030’ is to support country-owned and country-led climate compatible development in the ECOWAS region by financing renewable energy projects that will contribute to poverty alleviation and sustainable development in the region. The overall objective of the EREF 2030 is to contribute to the sustainable development in rural and peri-urban areas of the ECOWAS region through increased deployment and usage of reliable and affordable renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and services.
The Direct Beneficiaries of the EREF are project developers directly involved in the execution of renewable energy projects funded by EREF. The Final Beneficiaries are the energy end-users particularly in peri-urban and rural areas benefiting from modern, reliable, and affordable energy services and finally the global community through the reduction of GHG emissions.
The facility is open to collaboration with potential financial and technical partners.

TECHNOLOGY

NITDA, NIMC Partner To Strengthen Nigeria’s Digital Economy

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Tinubu

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) have expressed their commitment to collaborate on National Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) to enhance and create synergy between digital identity, payment ecosystem, and secure and seamless data exchange capabilities for Nigeria.

The Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, stated this when he led the management team of the Agency on a working visiting to the Director General of NIMC, Mrs. Bisoye Coker-Odusote in Abuja.

Abdullahi explained that the initiative was part of efforts to further strengthen Nigeria’s digital economy in line with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

He disclosed that the two agencies of government have had fruitful discussions on various initiatives, including building DPI stacks for a secure and seamless data exchange and forming partnerships to transform the National Identity System.

This collaboration, he explained, was aimed at harnessing the potential of the innovative ecosystem and the use of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to drive digital transformation in Nigeria.

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To ensure a smooth implementation, a 12-man committee was set up during the visit.

This committee, according to him, would play a crucial role in kick-starting and harmonising the initiatives.

The committee is expected to deliver a comprehensive implementation report within the next four weeks.

Recall that NIMC recently announced that it would launch an upgraded national identity card with payment functionality for all social and financial services.

The innovative card made in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System (NIBSS), is to be powered by AfriGO, a National domestic card scheme.

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According to NIMC, the innovation will address the demand for physical identification enabling cardholders to prove their identity, and access government and private social services.

It will also facilitate financial inclusion for disenfranchised Nigerians, empower citizens, as well as encourage increased participation in nation-building.

NIMC noted that only registered citizens and legal residents with the National Identification Number (NIN) will be eligible to request the card.

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TECHNOLOGY

Nnaji: Nigeria To Address Hunger, Poverty Through Science And Technology

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Nnaji

The Nigerian government has announced how it plans to address the country’s growing hunger and poverty.

Uche Nnaji, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Technology, stated that President Bola Tinubu intends to use science and technology to rewrite Nigeria’s story and eradicate hunger and poverty.

The Minister disclosed this in his keynote address at the opening ceremony of the consultative General Assembly of the West African Network of National Academies of Sciences (WANNAS) in Abuja.

Nnaji stated, “It is imperative to inform you that the Administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR is committed to combating hunger and poverty through the use of Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI).

“I like to further inform you that the Ministry is doing the needful in securing the country through our activities and programmes, geared towards job creation and wealth generation.”

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He noted that the Federal Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology was determined to diversify the Nigerian economy, stressing that it was one of the major agenda of the Federal Government through the application of Science, technology and Innovation apparatus.

The minister claimed that no nation in history has ever become great without prioritising Science and Technology (S&T), emphasising that some countries that were ravaged by war and conflict recovered, rebuilt their infrastructure, and later became rich and wealthy because they used Innovation, Science, and Technology for nation building.

He said: “The Federal Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology, having realized the role of Innovation in the industrial revolution, has developed many policies and programmes that are critical to the advancement of the sector.”

He however said while the interdependence of West African countries innovatively, calls for synergy and collaboration in all spheres of development, charged the sub-region to switch to STI and maximize the opportunities embedded therein, insisting it would strengthen its currencies and combat the exchange rate syndrome.

He said the academia must lay a good foundation for ECOWAS to leverage on, saying the National Academies of Sciences was paramount in propagąting the campaign of a switch to innovation and industrialization the region yearned for.

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The Minister said: “Permit me to conclude with a sincere appeal for synergy and collaboration among the West African Sub-region; that would quicken our quest for sustainable economic development through the utilization of the STI sector.”

Also speaking, ECOWAS Commissioner for Human Development and Social Affairs, Prof. Fatou Sarr, explained that WANNAS was a group of experts, a think-thank that could play a major role in finding solutions to numerous issues confronting the society at national, local, regional and global levels.

“The reason for our gathering today is important for the development of our countries. In fact, the living standards of a nation depend on the abundance of scientific development and technology.

“This lies in the ability of its actors to find viable solutions to societal problems and contribute to our countries’ socioeconomic development,” she stated.

The meeting will conclude on Thursday with a communiqué.

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TECHNOLOGY

Time For Nigeria To Take Its Place Among Global Great Nations, Says Nnaji

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The Minister of Innovation, Science, and Technology, Chief Uche Nnaji, has stated that the time has come for Nigeria to join the ranks of great nations around the world.

He said: “In today’s rapidly evolving world, the pace of technological advancements is not just fast; it is exponential. Nations that have recognised and capitalised on the power of research, development, and innovation are leading the way to economic prosperity, societal well-being, and sustainable development. It is time for Nigeria to take its rightful place among these nations.”

The Minister said this on Monday in Abuja during the opening of the National Research, Development and Innovation Coordination Summit.

He said for Nigeria “to achieve this, we must first acknowledge that our RDI ecosystem requires robust coordination, one that is resilient, inclusive, and forward-thinking. Our goal is to build a system in which academia, industry, government, and the community not only interact but thrive together, creating an environment conducive to ground-breaking innovations.”

He added that: “Our vision for Nigeria is to become a hub for African innovation, contributing significantly to the global knowledge economy. This can be achieved by implementing a three-pronged approach:

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“Strengthening Institutional Frameworks:
It is imperative that we build and strengthen the institutional frameworks necessary for effective RDI coordination. This includes policy reforms that incentivize research and development, protect intellectual properties, and facilitate the commercialization of research outcomes.

“Fostering Public-Private Partnerships: The collaboration between the public sector, private industry, and academic institutions is crucial. By fostering partnerships that leverage the strengths of each sector, we can accelerate the translation of research into market-ready solutions that address our most pressing challenges.

“Investing in Human Capital: At the heart of any successful RDI ecosystem are the people. Investing in education and training to build a skilled workforce ready to navigate and lead in the Fourth Industrial Revolution is non-negotiable. We must nurture our young talent and provide them with opportunities to excel and innovate.”

The Minister said with the theme of the gathering being: “Advancing Nigeria’s Global Competitiveness, Through a Resilient National RDI Coordination,’’ it is not just a statement of intent; it is a clarion call to action.

He added that: “The journey to enhancing Nigeria’s global competitiveness through resilient RDI coordination is a collective endeavor.

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“We want to bring out all the innovations, the researches we have in the shelf and develop them and that is the fulcrum of my involvement as a minister.”

Chief Strategy Officer of West and Central African Research and Education Network ( WACREN), Mr Omo Oaiya, said one of the things they do was the Pan-African Initiative to Strengthen Open Science in Africa.

He said: “As part of that, we are also working with countries in different events like this to drive cooperation and collaboration so that we can reap the benefits of such an endeavor.

“So RIKE SD is our local facilitator here. But between both of us, we have been able to create a new impetus in the Nigerian RDI coordination space.

“The main goal of this activity is to bring the different RDI actors together to look at a way of co-creating a future that we can build on.

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“We are trying to align this with the presidential priorities that have been announced and the Renewed Hope Agenda.”

Oaiya also said the essence of the summit was to bring international connections to support activity within Nigeria to drive RDI forward.

Global Impact lead, Research for Impact Knowledge Economy and Sustainable Development( RIKE SD), Dr Mustapha Popoola, on his part said part of what they are trying to do today was what we call research, development, innovation coordination.

He explained that “RIKE SD is a Nigerian non-for-profit organisation that has a Pan-African scope.

“We are the first research as a service organisation in Nigeria who is looking at taking research, development, innovation, outcomes and output from Nigeria to other African countries.

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“For the first time we know that for us to have results based on the directive of Mr. President, we should actually institutionalise the use of research and development outcomes in ministry agencies and departments.

“it is important for us to get coordinated and know what we can offer. We are using an approach that we call the pentagonal nexus, in which the government will collaborate with industry and academia while also focusing on the community that will use the results of research at the community level.”

President-elect Nigerian Academy of Science, Prof. Abubakar Sambo, said the summit is expected to look into the eight areas of the Renewed Hope Agenda.
It will bring out how research and development, and in particular science, technology and innovation research can be used to significantly impact those eight areas of Mr. President.

“It is to bring up what are needed to be undertaken to boost development of the country through programs that involve research, development and innovation, and also through policy making.

“It is very important for the MDAs to incorporate in their yearly programs, aspects that will be boosted through the outputs of research, development and innovation activities”, Sani said.

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Also speaking, Chairman Tech India Ltd, Dr. Shabihul Hassan,, said that the whole concept of research, development and innovation is collaboration.

“We have been connecting, collaborating with intellectuals, with members of the public and private sector to see how we can foster growth in the agri-sector, in the health sector, in the power sector, in the infrastructure sector.

“The key is teamwork. This is teamwork within the country, outside the country, collaborating nationally, internationally, and collaborating between the public and private sectors.

“So the private sector sets the way, it sets the standard. The public sector competes. The public sector also becomes competent, equally competent. So it’s collaborative work.

“The purpose of conferences like this is to bring people together, especially intellectuals, people with knowledge, different backgrounds, different countries. And that is the key to development,” he said.

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