industry with potential for commercialization in Nigeria and Africa; and (3) carry out a Knowledge Assessment of the selected technologies to identify opportunities and barriers to creating the science-based enterprises in Nigeria. This approach involves active participation by the local business community, local and national commercial banks, producers, and scientists and engineers, interacting with international experts, to explore the prospects for enterprises based on the selected technologies. The report will recommend actions by government, the private sector, and the national academies of Nigeria and the United States to encourage science-based enterprises.
The three technologies chosen by the committee were solar photovoltaics, water purification, and malaria therapy. The methodology selected, a knowledge assessment (described in Chapter 2), was used by the committee to illustrate ways in which the technologies could be profitably applied in Nigeria. The committee proposed a development model in which the private sector would be able to provide the technology-based products and services at a profit. Such a model offers the possibility that, after a period of incentive and encouragement, government or donor support would not be required in the future, thereby satisfying most definitions of economic sustainability.
Nigeria is an appropriate test bed for an approach that combines government and donor support and resources to enable the private sector to manufacture and provide science-based solutions to basic needs problems. As an oil exporter with a positive foreign exchange balance, Nigeria has a source of funds that could be employed to test the hypothesis. Nigeria also has several excellent universities, and the Nigerian Academy of Science is populated by many world-class scientists. In fact, Nigeria is famous worldwide for its entrepreneurial class, which includes modern manufacturing and extractive industries.
And yet despite these and other assets, Nigeria remains in the World Bank’s low-income category, and 60 percent of the population lives below the poverty line; life expectancy is 46 years.1 About two-thirds of Nigerians have no access to the electricity grid or safe water. A similar proportion of the people are at risk of malaria, which is a major cause of child
For a listing of countries in the various income categories, see World Bank, http://siteresources.worldbank.org/DATASTATISTICS/Resources/CLASS.XLS. The poverty line is defined by the “FEI method,” which is based on annual expenditures on food compared with the cost of the minimum daily allowances recommended by the World Health Organization. See Ben E. Aigbokhan, “Poverty, Growth and Inequity in Nigeria: A Case Study,” AERC Research Paper 102, African Economic Research Consortium, Nairobi, November 2000, http://www.aercafrica.org/documents/rp102.pdf. For life expectancy, see the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ni.html.