Posted by By Umoru Henry on
President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday laid the foundation for the construction of a N19.2 billion African Institute of Science and Technology in Abuja.
Abuja—President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday laid the foundation for the construction of a N19.2 billion African Institute of Science and Technology in Abuja.
According to the President, the project when completed, would provide a veritable tool for the development of both human and capital resources that is required for the repositioning of the African continent and Nigeria in particular in the area of technological advancement.
President Obasanjo who explained that Nigeria was fortunate to be one of the countries hosting the first four campuses of the institute, said the establishment of the institute which is also called African University of Science and Technology (AUST) and the naming of the institute after Nelson Mandela, former South African President was a clear support of liberation and freedom of the African people.
President Obasanjo while commending the efforts of African leaders towards the initiation of the project, stressed that it was a sure way of transforming the digital divide between Africa and the rest of the world into a digital opportunity.
The project which at its take-off stage will serve as a leading light changing the face of research in science -related fields, is an initiative of 54 African countries aimed at transforming the education sector of the continent geared towards bridging the digital divide between Africa and the developed world.
The completion of the project in Nigeria is expected to foster the smooth diversification of industries, ensure access to advance research and reduction in the cost of education in the country.
In her remarks, the Chairman of the Institute and former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Mrs. Okonjo- Iweala, who noted that Africa had always been left behind in the areas of science and technology due to long neglect, explained that what is required by the continent to move away from dependency on raw material, was the development of human capital that were key to the speedy development of the sector.
The Chief Executive of the Institute, Dr. Karls Voltaire, who disclosed that the federal government had already committed about N2.6billion (about $20million) for the provision of infrastructure to enable the take-off of the institution, said the funding of the institute would come from the private sector and other international organizations that are interested in seeing that Africa succeeds in her quest to improving on its ranking in science and technology.