The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary describes knowledge as the information, understanding and skills that are gained through education or experience. Whatever fields we are involved in, many ways exist for us to constantly increase our knowledge to help us better understanding things around us which perhaps include the products and services we consume. Like in other parts of the world, Nigerian scientists, researchers and innovative entrepreneurs are working round the clock to make lives worth- while through array of products and services. Today’s customers are highly sophisticated and failure to produce products and services that will meet their tastes or demand is to give room for foreign markets to take over and dominate our economy and this has many adverse effects on Nigeria’s economy.
From the date of his appointment as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by President Muhamamadu Buhari; Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu has never left anyone in doubt of his desire to use the opportunity accorded him to make Nigeria a knowledge-based economy where knowledge drives the development of the country. Dr. Onu keeps re-echoing this fact at any fora he has appeared. His view is no doubt the current day reality that most developing and developed nations make use of knowledge to navigate economic development and industrialization.
Some countries have resources in abundance yet industrialization and economic development have eluded them. They are never near any nation regarded as developed. With all the resources nature has given them, not much is there to show in terms of improved economy. There are countries that don’t have much resources, but they have used knowledge tremendously to produce very high quality products and services that stand the test of time and they are supplying these products in the export market which has earned them revenues in billions of dollars.
India and China for instance do not have the kind of natural resources that Nigeria has, but their economy is so developed as a result of extensive use of knowledge to produce goods and services that give value for money.
The UK Department of Trade and Industry posit that the generation of knowledge and exploitation of knowledge plays the dominant role in the creation of wealth. According to the Department, knowledge is becoming more of a critical component of the economy.
Mark Zuckerberg, a technology entrepreneur and founder of Facebook is a true demonstration of what knowledge can do. Zuckerberg as a computer science student started his company, the online social network from the idea to course-match his fellow students on campus; from where he progressed to face-match to know the faces of the guys on campus and that has today metamorphosed into Facebook that is today worth 52.1 billion dollars in earnings and providing millions of jobs world-wide. Google, Microsoft and Apple are all products of knowledge.
It must be emphasized that what knowledge can do is not limited to ICT products alone. It could be in the manufacturing, building construction and other sectors of the economy. To encourage the transformation of knowledge to become technology-value-added goods and services, the federal government through its Ministry of Science and Technology mandated the National Board for Technology Incubation to take charge. Research and Development result from our ivory towers, research institutes and many innovative efforts are been commercialized by the National Board for Technology Incubation. That is to say, using knowledge to transform our economy specifically through technology value added SMEs. It has been agreed world-wide that SMEs are the engine growth of nations economies.
Knowledge is critical to finding solutions to our deficient products and services. That is why the NBTI involves the academia and relevant regulatory agencies such as NAFDAC, SON and many more to ensure that adequate research is done in order to have the best from technology value SMEs.
The Niger Delta region that has suffered environment degradation due to oil spills is going to be a great beneficiary of knowledge in-built product produced by Solpawa Bio-Remediation products Ltd to solve this aged-long problem the Niger delta region has witnessed. These include the poisoning of the waters, destruction of the vegetation and agricultural land by oil spills which occur as a result of oil drilling operations. The Solpawa Soil Booster resulting from series of research conducted by food technologist and food engineers cleanses the polluted soil due to oil spillage, it Bio remedies and returns the soil to its natural form for immediate normal agricultural production. The Phytofib gel cleanses the polluted water to a natural state in 5days of application of this knowledge-based product. The cleansing of Ogoni land now has a home grown solution developed by a technology entrepreneur from the Technology Incubation Centre Yenegoa in Bayelsa State.
Research and development results that have hitherto been lying idle on our shelves have to be dusted and looked into critically especially those that were conducted to help improve our production processes and add value to our products and services. New researches should equally be conducted in order to improve the process and produce what meets global standard. Our engineers must begin to look inwards on how best they can bring their experiences and skills to solve our numerous production processes problems and make our products to be the best.
The National Board for Technology Incubation has done well by trying to ensure that our products and services are knowledge-oriented and is poised to do more to have a knowledge-based economy to fast track Nigeria’s economic development. The world is a global village where knowledge is now used to steer development and Nigeria must not take an exception from using knowledge to produce products and services that will make life better.
–Teryima is a public affairs analyst