Clement Idoko – Abuja
The governments of Nigeria and Israel have begun working together to deepen partnerships in innovation, entrepreneurship and production to capitalize on Nigeria’s vast potential for technological development.
This was made clear by the Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Michael Freeman, during his working visit to Arc, Executive Secretary of the Higher Education Trust Fund (TETFund). Sonny Echono at the fund’s headquarters in Abuja.
Mr. Abdulmumin Oniyangi, Acting Director of Public Affairs of TETFund, issued a statement in Abuja on Wednesday, saying
Speaking during his visit, Ambassador Freeman expressed Israel’s desire to cooperate with Nigeria in the areas of technology and entrepreneurial development, describing Nigeria as a country with great potential due to its large youth population.
Describing Israel as a leading nation in technology and innovation, Ambassador Freeman revealed that 45 percent of Israel’s gross domestic product (GDP) comes from innovative and entrepreneurial start-ups, as the country’s main economic sectors involve high-tech and industrial manufacturing.
He said that Nigeria has great potential, and if the same goal can be achieved, even making 30% of Nigeria’s GDP come from technology, innovation and entrepreneurship, it will accelerate Nigeria’s economic development.
The Israeli envoy further stated that Nigeria has the potential to become a destination for businesses if innovative development is harnessed, especially through innovation incubation centres, saying this would provide young Nigerians with entrepreneurial potential but lacking expertise in the right direction.
Mr. Freeman also spoke about the Innovation Fellowships for Aspiring Inventors and Researchers (i-Fair) scheme, which was launched out of the need to nurture a generation of innovators, inventors and researchers in Nigeria; especially among young among people.
He noted that the embassy worked closely with the vice president’s office on the plan, which has spanned two editions, and called for greater collaboration with the fund in the upcoming third edition.
In his speech, arc. Sonny Echono applauded the Israeli ambassador’s visit and commitment to strengthen ties with TETFund in its quest for technological and economic development in Nigeria.
While expressing his excitement over the many benefits the partnership will bring, he said, “If innovation and entrepreneurship can provide 45% of Israel’s GDP, one can only imagine what 10 0r 20% can do to Nigeria’s GDP and our population.” what impact”.
According to Echono, there is a global consensus that, given the right incentives, Nigerians are hardworking and intelligent and can envision what can be unlocked through technology, innovation and entrepreneurship.
While briefing Mr. Freeman on TETFund’s collaboration with Innova8 Hub and other strategic partners, he also hinted at the fund’s drive to foster innovation hubs in some of Nigeria’s higher education institutions.