FRANCE has pledged to invest €700,000 on educational research aimed at fostering collaboration on climate change adaptation between it and Nigeria as part of a programme to boost the production of clean energy.
Nigeria is one the world’s large countries that has so far failed to take climate change seriously as very few green energy policies have been formulated. Unlike other developing countries such as Brazil, Mexico, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam, Nigeria does not have wind farms, huge solar farms or waste-to-energy plants introduced to reduce her carbon footprint.
With Nigeria looking to industrialise her economy, there are fears that a boom could bring about serious environmental consequences as the country has no plans to introduce electric cars or reduce the usage of fossil fuels. Stepping in to help, Leila Mathieu, the higher education and science attache at the French Embassy in Nigeria, said the goal of the project is to promote partnership between France and Nigeria through the creation of an environment that would encourage young scientists to be more innovative.
Mr Mathieu said: “In order to start doing research together, it is important to know where each country is coming from. So, a large part of the project is to encourage mobility of scientists from France and Nigeria and another is dedicated to creating the right environment and means of action.
“This involves funding workshops, short stays in relevant labs, visits from French scientists, high-level training in selected short-term programme for junior researchers, bench work and funding for three best projects.”
Professor Chinedum Nwajiuba, the vice chancellor of the Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, in Ebonyi State, described the initiative as unique in terms of promoting research studies on climate change adaptation. He said the concept of the project is good because it is not something that you find easily in any higher institution of learning.
“We want to bring a team of researchers from seven Nigerian universities together to make them to be able to imagine and conceptualise projects and ideas that are not just from one university, but to also encourage them to partner with other universities. This is something unique and we think it is important for a new generation of researchers to think out of the box and work in other fields of study,” Professor Nwajiuba said.
He listed Alex Ekwueme University, University of Ibadan, University of Lagos, University of Jos, Bayero University, Kano University of Science and Technology and the Ebonyi State University as some of the institutions selected for the research. French institutions involved in the project include Grenoble Institute of Technology, University of Grenoble, University of Lyon, Ecole Centrale de Nantes and Museum of La Ville.