Ota, Ogun – Prof. Moses Obiazi, President, African Engineering Deans Council (AEDC), says Africa needs well-educated citizens with skills underpinned by Science, Technology and Innovation to attain a high standard of living.
Obiazi made the remark on Monday at a news conference to herald the opening of the 3rd African Engineering Deans Council (AEDC) summit at the Covenant University.
The summit, which begins on Tuesday, will end on July 27.
The summit, will have the President of Guinea, Alpha Conde, who doubles as AU President, and former President Olusegun Obasanjo in attendance.
According to the council president, apart from science, technology and innovation, others like access to shelter, water, sanitation, energy, ICT and modern agriculture must be tackled to achieve increased productivity.
“To realise this, our African engineers must be fully involved; Africa must solve Africa’s problems.
“Currently, we do not have a specific policy framework to encourage and mobilise African engineers to collaborate in solving Africa’s infrastructure and developmental challenges.
“AEDC is, therefore, poised to work through the African Union (AU) to help foster collaboration and synergy in developing the technologies and skill manpower required to tackle Africa’s multiple infrastructural and developmental challenges.
“This will raise the bar of growth and advancement for the continent,’’ Obiazi said.
The Chairman, Global Engineering Deans Council, Prof. Peter Patrick, said Nigeria might not advance economically if it failed to encourage her graduates to be innovative.
Patrick said if the only thing Nigerian engineers did after graduating was to work for companies or migrate to other countries, Nigeria would never solve its economic challenges.
He said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sideline of the news conference,
“This is because, in addition to working for other companies or leave the country, they need to innovate and help create new companies and ideas at home in Nigeria.
“That is how the whole world is advancing economically and that is what Nigeria really needs to do.
“A very important ingredient in preparing universities and other engineering students is to teach them how to be innovative and create new companies, because that is where the jobs will come from.’’
The President, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), Mr Kashim Ali, said that the council was working hard to bridge the gap between the academia and the industries.
He said this would help in improving skills among undergraduates of universities.
According to Ali, there is the need for government to also encourage indigenous industries in order to encourage economic growth.
He frowned at the rate of building collapse incidents in the country, saying that the development was becoming embarrassing to the council.
“Oftentimes, when these buildings fall, they blame it on the engineers, but no structural engineer is involved in the construction of such buildings.
“The actual causes responsible for these collapses are quackery and quacks, who claim to be engineers,” Ali said. (NAN)