‘How Nigeria can leverage nanotechnology for development’

Ogbonnaya Onu

The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu and the Chairman of Oilserv, Emeka Okwuosa have said there was a need for Nigeria to harness the $76 billion nanotechnology market to fast-track national industrial development.

Nanotechnology, a development, which enables the manipulation of matter on a nanoscale, posed a market value of nearly $76 billion in 2020.

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Reportedly, the benefits of nanotechnology include energy-efficient products such as fuel and solar cells, improvements in manufacturing that allow for durable, light-weight, efficient production tools, while leading advances in disease treatments, such as cancer, better imaging and diagnostic equipment.

The technology, which is yet to receive needed adoption in countries like Nigeria can also address environmental and agricultural challenges.

Speaking at the 4th African Nano Conference, which was organised by the University of Nigeria, Nssuka, Onu insisted that the growing application of nanotechnology across the world could leapfrog Nigeria’s industrial projections across different sectors of the economy.

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The minister noted that the development could drastically unlock the nation’s energy sector, environment, agriculture, as well as provide, needed solutions to the health challenges in the country.

“Remarkable advancement is being made across the globe for the application and utilisation of this knowledge in various fields to enhance the quality of life of humans. We endeavour to harness this technology to fast track our national industrial development,” Onu stated.

Okwuosa noted that nanotechnology could provide an alternative modern technology as a means of solving immediate societal problems.

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With the organisation at the forefront of investment in expanding the technology in Nigeria through a centre in the University of Nigeria, Okwuosa noted that the company would continue to lend its support to the Nanotechnology Research Group, believing that continued support and collaboration would create the much-desired value for the country and the continent at large.

He said: “Research and development in nanotechnology would play a leading role in putting Nigeria on the global map of scientific and technological achievements.”

Okwuosa stated that in the energy sector, technology could make energy more efficient, cost-effective and safe, adding that it provides the potential to enhance energy efficiency across all branches of industry and to economically leverage renewable energy production through new technological solutions and optimized production technologies.

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With a fast-growing global population, the Chairman said, application of the technology in the agriculture sector would increase food production in a sustainable manner and protect crops from pests.

“This is essential especially with the projected increase in world population to over 9 billion in the year 2037 (next 16years) which will pose serious problems if food production is not enhanced,” he said.

If properly applied, Okwuosa said the initiative would improve crop productivity using nanomaterials in targeted crop genetic engineering and smart monitoring of plant response to environments with nanosensors, stressing that the nanomaterials would increase crop productivity using Nano fertilizers and Nanopesticides.

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Stressing that need for the application in the environment and health sector, Okwuosa lamented that the application of nanotechnology in various fields has been slow and suffered from several challenges.

According to him, in developing countries like Nigeria, resources for contribution to front-line science has been a mirage, as the cost of acquiring intellectual property rights remains high.

To address the challenges, he said the funding requirement of the research should be addressed while national governments could arrange training and education programmes at the regional and local level to make people aware of the novel field of technology.

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