In November 2013, the Nigeria-Czech Republic Trade and Investment Council (NCTIC) and officials of Nigerian Embassy in Prague, led a delegation of investors from the Czech Republic to the National Agency for Science Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI). The main purpose of the visit was to explore areas of mutual investment interest in the provision and maintenance of technological infrastructure in Nigeria.
The aforesaid visit afforded the opportunity to explore areas that are in the mandate of NASENI and it was, therefore, agreed that an MoU is necessary to support the establishment of a solid basis for cooperation in science and technology that will lead to the exchange of best practices and transfer of technology between the two countries.
After the follow up visit of the Management of NASENI to Czech Republic, the Nigeria-Czech Trade and Investment Council prevailed on the Czech government to support Nigeria through transfer of technology. The Technology Agency of the Czech Republic was, therefore, mandated to drive the process for the actualization of a bilateral cooperation initiative.
The MoU that was signed at the instance of the Nigeria-Czech Republic Trade and Investment Council had received the blessings of the Presidency, Federal Ministries of Science and Technology, Foreign Affairs and Justice as well as Nigeria’s Embassy in Prague.
The Federal Government of Nigeria, represented by the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), and the Government of the Czech Republic, represented by The Technology Agency of the Czech Republic, signed the MoU on 15th May, 2014, in Prague. The MoU is expected to expire in 2024.
The MoU seeks to encourage technology transfer and information exchange between the Czech Republic and the Federal Republic of Nigeria with a view to positively exploring areas of bilateral cooperation.
Thus, the main objective of this MoU is to support and promote bilateral and multilateral scientific Research and Development (R&D) activities, including joint projects between Nigeria and the Czech Republic, as well as to identify and endorse existing national and international programs for supporting joint scientific and R&D projects.
The Parties to the MoU shall support the establishment of a solid basis for cooperation in science and technology especially in cutting edge applied research, experimental development and innovation which shall foster the activities in areas of common interest.
Accordingly, the two countries have agreed on exchanging best practices and know-how in areas of Research, Development and Innovation (R&D&I) support, technology transfer and commercialization of R&D output.
The priority areas of cooperation will be implemented largely through the following avenues:
Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Research
Agricultural and Food Technology
Mining Industrial Development
Sustainable Transportation Technology
Information and Communication Technology
Nano Science and Nano Technology
Digital Archives Program
Other areas identified and agreed upon by the Parties on the basis of on-going exchange of information and mutual interest of scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs from both countries.
The full implementation of the MoU will undoubtedly impact positively on Nigeria’s Agricultural and Mining Sectors and other thematic areas contained in the MoU. In addition, it will provide the requisite skills and competencies needed to exploit the huge untapped economic potentials in these sectors. This development will significantly boost the economic diversification efforts of the Federal Government, thereby creating gainful job opportunities for the teeming youth population. Furthermore, the execution of the MoU will help improve foreign reserves as a result of increased local production of import-substitutable products.
While awaiting the inauguration of the Presidential Implementation Committee, NASENI has already constituted an Internal Standing Committee (ISC) to coordinate the implementation of the MoU. The NASENI ISC has met severally and recommended that the implementation of the MoU should be in Phases, with the first phase focusing on the following areas:
i. Agricultural Equipment, Machinery, Production and Processing;
ii. Mining Equipment, Machinery, Production and Processing; and
iii. General manufacturing, with emphasis on micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
The implementation of the MoU in these areas will contribute immensely to the current Administration’s efforts of diversifying the economy with its attendant impact on job creation and foreign exchange savings.
The Presidential Implementation Committee (PIC) of the MOU shall comprise:
Mr. Dahiru Muhammed
Nigeria-Czech Republic Trade and Investment Council
Engr. Prof. M.S. Haruna
EVC-National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure
Representative of The Presidency
Representative of The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning
Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
Representative of The Minister of Industry Trade and Investment
Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment