By Salisu Sani-Idris
Abuja, Sept. 16, 2023
Vice President Kashim Shettima has emphasised the need for international cooperation towards combating global challenges.
The Director of Information, Office of the Vice President, Mr. Olusola Abiola, in a statement, said Shettima, stated this while addressing World leaders at the ongoing G77+China Leaders’ Summit, in Cuba.
Shettima spoke to an assembly of Heads of State and Government, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Gutteres and delegates from over 100 countries from the global South.
The vice president also emphasized the need to be focussed, leveraging cooperation or partnership for finding realistic solutions to global challenges.
Shettima said: “We must always remember that cooperation is our compass and the most realistic path towards maximizing the opportunities and resolving challenges before us.
“We must not allow geopolitical tensions in any corner of the world to deter us from forging a collective and mutually advantageous path forward, a roadmap of shared prosperity and progress.”
He, therefore, expressed Nigeria’s commitment to tow the path of partnership with member-States of the G77+China towards addressing global challenges.
Shettima said: “Allow me to reiterate Nigeria’s commitment to partnering with our fellow member nations of the G77 and China.
“We shall champion initiatives that harness the potential of science, technology, and innovation to confront economic challenges, particularly within the global south.”
On the theme of the summit, “Current Development Challenges: The Role of Science, Technology and Innovation,” Shettima underscored the prominent role played by science, technology and innovation in resolving challenges from the past to the present.
“Throughout history, science and technology have shaped the course of nations.
“The phases of the Industrial Revolution, from the first to the fourth, and from mechanization to automation, have determined the prosperity of those nations.
“It is crucial to acknowledge that the developing world found itself at a disadvantage in the earliest phases of these transformations, struggling to compete fairly as these revolutions swept across the globe,” he added.
The vice president told his audience that Nigeria was contributing its own share in leveraging science, technology and innovation to resolving challenges such as COVID-19 and the climate crisis.
Shettima said: “Nigeria understands that the key to advancing innovation in science and technology lies in fostering a vibrant knowledge economy and facilitating the unrestricted exchange of ideas.
“This is the reason why across the globe, one would be hard-pressed to identify a premier institution, even within the most developed nations, where a Nigerian, trained at home, is not contributing significantly, whether as a tech innovator or a medical specialist, in the noble pursuit of improving the human condition.”
On the efforts of the Nigerian government to combat Covid-19 using science and technology, Shettima said that the pandemic, while being a tragic chapter, served as a catalyst for “our brilliant minds in Nigeria to rejuvenate their pursuits in the fields of science and technology.
” Our scientists have successfully positioned our nation as a prominent global hub for mRNA vaccine production, a milestone currently in progress.”
Shettima extolled the contributions of the youths in the nation’s quest for science, technology and innovation advancement.
He also emphasised that Nigeria’s demographic advantage was not limited to the absence of an aging population. Nigeria stands as a beacon of youthful talent and innovation.
He added: “These young citizens are not only dedicated to integrating human elements into the evolving technological sphere, but their efforts also extend to diverse fields.
“Ranging from telemedicine to the automation of agriculture, all with the aim of making our daily lives more seamless.”
On climate crisis, the vice president opined that the climate crisis around the globe too had dominated Nigeria’s agenda and prompted youthful innovators to engage in crafting solutions.
He said: “This fervent commitment has resulted in the establishment of start-ups like the Climate Action Africa (CMA) Labs.
“It is a hub dedicated to addressing diverse challenges posed by climate change, including severe droughts, flooding, and the escalating agricultural complexities.”
Shettima, while stressing the imperative of global partnership, warned, “the stakes are high. If we fail to act now, the prevailing trend could imperil our attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
In his welcome speech at the opening of the summit, the President of Cuba and Chair of G77+China, Miguel Diaz-Canel lamented the precarious situations faced by developing countries who are member-states.
He said that science, technology and innovation had only benefitted developed countries while the global South was largely still facing very serious development challenges.
The president, therefore, called for collective wisdom to address the challenges.
Also, the United Nations (UN) Sectetary-General, Antonio Gutteres, acknowledged that there were development problems confronting developing countries.
He promised that the UN system would continue to work with the G77 and China to proffer solutions to these challenges.