The governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi on Wednesday said that research and development in Nigeria and sub Saharan Africa are grossly underfunded compared to the case of other industrialized economies, stating that no country can develop without an effective research policy.
Delivering a lecture at the 42nd annual graduation ceremony of the Airforce Institute Of Technology (AFIT), Kaduna, titled: “Tertiary Institutions, Research And Innovation, And National Development: The Changing Dynamics For Sub-Saharan Africa”, Mr Sanusi identified lack of a coherent national policy and regulatory framework that will provide adequate incentives for research initiatives and funding as largely responsible for underdevelopment of critical infrastructure in Nigeria and the West African sub region.
Despite the large manpower and structure in place in the country capable of placing the country among the top economies in the world, the innovations recorded by indigenous scientists and academics, have not transformed into reality due to lack of funds and poor policy framework. This ugly trend has however, placed Nigeria, and Africa behind other economies.
Going by this situation, Mr Sanusi said that while the fight to eradicate extreme poverty has had significant improvement in most east Asian countries, the situation in Africa and indeed, Nigeria has shown a rather worrisome trend, stressing that achieving a better standard of living will remain the privilege of a few, until the issue of sustained growth and increased productivity are addressed by the government.
On his part, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marhsal Alex Badeh said the Nigerian Airforce has enough manpower to produce indigenous armaments that will aid in tackling internal security challenges, but again, he said poor funding for research remains a major obstacle.
While it is no longer a hidden fact that Nigeria has performed abysmally low in terms of research and innovation, stakeholders at the event believe that there is need to evolve effective strategy and a comprehensive national policy on research for economic development.