(By Maureen Okon, NAN)
Shimon Ben-Shoshan, Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria says his country appreciates the bilateral cooperation between both countries especially in the areas of agriculture, health, education, and security.
Ben-Shoshan expressed this thought at the flag-up ceremony of i-FAIR 2020/21 Israel-Nigeria Innovation Programme holding from, Dec 1 to Dec 3 in Abuja.
“This year, the State of Israel marks the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Nigeria.
“We are proud to note with satisfaction the strong diplomatic relations and friendship that exist today between our countries.
“We also acknowledge the growth of bilateral cooperation over the past 60 years, especially in the areas of agriculture, health, education, and energy and homeland security.
“This cooperation would not have been possible without the Nigerian government, which, in its efforts to deliver economic growth, has developed entrepreneurship initiatives, policies and programmes to address the growing need for a more diverse economy.
“This has become more apparent in technology ecosystems thriving across Abuja, Lagos, and even as far as Adamawa, Edo and Plateau states,” he said.
The envoy stated that Israel is popularly known as the `Startup Nation’, renowned for its vibrant ecosystem of innovation, with a view to providing higher leverage through multi-faceted collaborations that cut across sectors.
“i-FAIR has been given the slogan: ‘Transforming Ideas into Invention.’ It goes without saying that it is not about ideals and dreams, but about making them happen and this is what we are doing in this fair,” he added.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that i-FAIR is a platform and acronym for Innovation Fellowship for Aspiring Inventors and Researchers.
Ben-Shosha said that the i-FAIR 2020/21 was created to provide a platform which Nigerian innovators could use to unleash and channel their creativity into providing smart solutions, producing products and prototypes.
According to him, i-FAIR follows the success of the Agrinnovation Seminar in 2019, which gathered key players in the agriculture sector from both Nigeria and Israel.
He explained that this year’s event is taking place under the shadow and restrictions brought on by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Also, Prof Suleiman Bogoro, Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) expressed confidence that the historic event would lay the foundation and define the trajectory for the transformation of Nigeria’s beleaguered innovation ecosystem.
Bogoro, who was represented by Dr Emmanuel Chiroma, said that the establishment of the centre constituted a significant building block and springboard for Nigeria’s leap into the knowledge economy realm.
According to him, the centre also creates a breeding ground for creativity, original ideas, and innovation.
“Upon assumption of duty as the executive secretary of the TETFUND in April 2014, I presented a strategic plan, which proposed the establishment of a new department along with Centres of Excellence.
“This was with the expectation that these canters would ultimately partner with Research Institutes/Centres (such as Skill`G’ Innovation Centre).
“In the past week, Allocation Letter for the establishment of 12 centres of excellence, two in each geo-political zones of the country were presented to the Heads of Institutions that had been selected to host these centres.
“We expect these centres to come on stream imminently. The synergy and collaboration between TETFUND and this imposing innovation centre will be a game-changer,” he said.