The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change defines economic diversification as generally taken as the process in which a growing range of economic output is produced. It can also, according to it, refer to the diversification of markets for exports or the diversification of income sources away from domestic economic activities (i.e. income from overseas investment).
Economic diversification in its standard usage, either in terms of the diversity of economic activities or markets, is a significant issue for many developing countries, as their economies are generally characterised by the lack of it.
The state of the Nigerian economy has become a topic for discussion at many fora as the search for its revival continues. Experts point to the diversification of the economy as a way forward with the concern being on the key sectors to shift attention to and speedily bring about their transformation in a bid to realize the ultimate desire.
Nigeria, as a developing nation is beginning to talk economic diversification given the current fall in the price of crude oil in the international market. Given that the diversification cannot be easy without a cordial relationship with other countries, government has continued to strengthen its ties with other nations of the world.
President Muhammadu Buhari has often said his administration will continue to welcome support and investments from the international community in all the sectors of the economy so that the nation could move to reduce dependence on oil.
In line with this, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu recently played host to the Irish Ambassador to Nigeria, Sean Hoy, who paid him a visit in his office in Abuja.
He (Onu) said the visit would help strengthen the nation’s existing cordial relationship with the Republic of Ireland, especially at this time when efforts are being intensified to diversify the economy utilizing science and technology.
Collaboration with Ireland, he said, would help to build indigenous capacities through cooperation and mutual assistance, as a key component of the change agenda of the Federal Government. He affirmed that part of the ministry’s mandate was to ensure that Nigeria becomes a leading economy through value addition to the education of Nigerian youths especially in the area of science and technology.
In line with the present administration’s strategic plan, which is to add value on human resources through training, thereby gaining knowledge and being on the frontline of leading economies of the world, he said his ministry was doing its best to help in its realisation.
He reiterated government’s efforts in redirecting the economy, from resource-based to knowledge-based and getting Nigerians to become more productive on issues that will add value to the exploitation of the nation’s natural resources, adding, “this is an area where the Ministry of Science and Technology is re-directing its focus.”
The minister described Nigeria as having a big advantage as she is endowed with intelligent and hardworking people who he said were willing to embrace knowledge through proper training and education.
Speaking in his open address, Hoy, reiterated his country’s commitment in collaborating with Nigeria in its current drive at diversifying the economy. He said diversification should not stop at only the natural resources but rather on building the people.
He further stated that his country would be partnering Nigeria in the area of training of the youth with innovations through technology and education and create systems for them to share models with their counterparts from Ireland.
Also recently, the minister held talks with the deputy chief of mission, Embassy of Israel in Nigeria, Nadal Goran and stressed the need for strategic partnership with other developed nations to strengthen the national economy.
He re-echoed the ministry’s determination to make sure the economy moved from resource-based to knowledge-based and to also effectively utilise all the resources available in the country.