Nigeria And Israel Deepen Partnership In Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Production

By Clement Alphonsus
Mr. Michael Freeman (Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria)
Mr. Michael Freeman (Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria)

The Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Michael Freeman on March 14, paid a working visit to the Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Arc. Sonny S.T. Echono at the Fund’s Headquarters in Abuja to deepen partnership in innovation, entrepreneurship and production.

The objective of the collaboration was to harness Nigeria’s huge potentials for its technological development.

Recall that the partnership between Nigeria and Israel was among the many laudable initiatives embarked upon the Arc. Echono since he assumed the leadership of the fund.

He believed that for there to be transformation in the education sector, it was imperative to focus on the quality of graduates being churned out by tertiary educational institutions. To address the gap issue, the E.S had pledged to forge a sustainable partnership between the academia and the industry as a way to provide permanent solution to the skill gap in the country.

Speaking during the visit, Israeli Ambassador, Mr. Freeman expressed his country’s desire to work with Nigeria in the areas of technology and entrepreneurship development. He went on to describe Nigeria as a country of huge potentials due to its teeming youth population.

Emphasizing that Israel is a leading country in technology and innovation, Ambassador Freeman disclosed that 45 per cent of Israel’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP) comes from innovation and entrepreneurship start-ups.

The Israeli Ambassador added that Nigeria has the potential to be a destination for businesses if innovative developments are harnessed, particularly through innovation incubation hubs. This, he said, will provide young Nigerians who have entrepreneurship potentials but lacked expertise, an avenue to be mentored and guided in the right direction.

Mr. Freeman also talked about the Innovation Fellowship for Aspiring Inventors and Researchers (i-Fair) programme, an initiative borne out of the need to raise a generation of innovators, inventors and researchers in Nigeria; especially among the youths.

Arc. Echono expressed appreciation to the Israeli Ambassador for the visit as well as his commitment to strengthening ties with TETFund in Nigeria’s quest for technological and economic development.

While expressing excitement at the numerous benefits derivable from the partnership, the E.S imagined how much could be generated by Nigeria if desired emphasis and commitment are palced on innovation and entrepreneurship.

He said: “If innovation and entrepreneurship can provide 45 per cent of Israel GDP, one can only imagine what 10 or 20 per cent will do to Nigeria’s GDP with our population.”

According to Echono, there is a global consensus that Nigerians are hardworking and intelligent when provided with the right incentives, and “one can envision what can be unlocked through technology, innovation and entrepreneurship”, he added.

While intimating Mr. Freeman of TETFund’s collaboration with Innova8 Hub and other strategic partners, he also hinted on the Fund’s drive to domesticate innovation hubs in some of Nigeria’s tertiary educational institutions.

Innov8 Hub, an Innovation Startup-driven organization was one of partnerships the Fund began recently as part of its commitments to make innovative opportunities accessiblºe to academics in tertiary institutions.

This and several others buttressed Arc. Echono’s readiness to support and replicate innovation hub projects in public universities and other tertiary educational institutions in the country