Charles Darwin of Origin of Species fame once said that ‘it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.’ This seems to be the driving force behind Procter & Gamble (P&G) Nigeria, a fast-moving consumer goods company. To underscore this point, P&G, at the weekend, held a two-day annual symposium tagged: Chemical Sciences and Technology Enabling Growth in Africa, in partnership with the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). SYMPOSIUM — From left, Ken Robinson, Chief Audit Executive & VP, Global Diversity, Procter & Gamble; Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Dan-Azumi, Director-General, National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion; George Nassar, Managing Director, P&G Nigeria and Prof. Familoni representative of the Pan-African Chemistry Network at the P&G-RSC Symposium Thursday at the Eko Hotel, Lagos. In his opening remarks, the Managing Director of P&G Nigeria, George Nassar, said innovation is one of P&G’s and by extension, Nigeria’s most vital methods for growth and development. “P&G’s strides towards innovation have been recognised globally and in Africa, through industry accolades and awards. He said: “But it is the millions of African consumers that choose us every day that is our biggest source of pride.” He added that the company spends about US$2 billion annually on research and development which has helped them to stay on top of their game. The symposium brought together leading academics, thought leaders and industry members to discuss the critical issues of development in technology in order to promote growth through research and technology transfer in Africa. It was aimed at engaging local entrepreneurs and providing a platform for cross-sharing and learning to help foster knowledge and build skills in research and publishing while also empowering African students through opportunities such as internships. Speaking at the event, the Director-General of the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), Dr. Ibrahim Dan-Azumi expressed his pleasure, saying; “this forum serves as an incredible opportunity for thought leaders and technology experts to exchange knowledge and talent. “One of NOTAP’s long standing assignments is to promote a culture of intellectual property knowledge in Nigerian universities. This will help to increase the value of our Nigerian research and the development of intellectual property and technology transfer by setting up offices that will harness the competencies of researchers in Nigerian universities. “This will further assist in translating Research & Development into tangible products and innovative services; and trainings and capability building discussions like this, will help to strengthen this effort.” Developing local talent: The International Development Manager at the Royal Society of Chemistry, Stuart Govan, noted that the objective of RSC is to help empower Africa’s future leaders to increase engagement in the science and technology fields. He said: “Building strong strategic partnerships with companies such as P&G allows us to collaborate and work on actually empowering these students – and thus, our collective future.” In line with P&G’s commitment to develop local talent and leverage local expertise, the company, in partnership with NOTAP announced that they will be offering two lucky students scholarships to run their PhD programme. “These students will work in partnership with the P&G Research & Development team on research projects of interest for P&G Nigeria and sub-Saharan countries. “In previous years, P&G has partnered with academic organisations in Nigeria to foster scientific education. In 2013, P&G, via the Pan-Africa Chemistry Network, set up a research facility at the University of Lagos, and has been hiring young science graduates as interns to work on research projects,”said Nassar. Looking inward: In his contribution, Dr. Ike Ononye of the University of Cincinnati, USA and a retired staff of P&G, said it is a sad commentary on Africa that a continent endowed with so much natural resources, still grapples with unimaginable level of poverty. “With the slowing down of global economy, attention is now turning to Africa as the new engine for global economic growth. This is a great opportunity for African scientists, particularly chemists, to take leadership in partnering with each other, government agencies, investors and multinational companies to develop effective models for translating the natural resources in Africa into sustainable economic growth for Africa. He noted that research and development consciously tailored towards tapping and developing Africa’s huge natural resources, is the answer otherwise, the youths will keep migrating with some ending up in the Mediterranean Sea. Growth of P & G: Nassar stated that aside from P&G’s dedication to driving innovation in sub-Saharan Africa, the company also focuses on human capital development. “P&G’s strategy for establishing innovations in the science field include its investment in strategic manufacturing hubs across the continent. The company’s capital investments in sub-Saharan Africa are set to increase over the next five years through the expansion of existing facilities and manufacturing plants in South Africa and Nigeria. This investment is expected to result in creation of thousands of employment and business opportunities within the continent,” said Nassar. He noted that their Agbara site is the biggest non-oil US investment in Nigeria.
Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/02/procter-gamble-holds-symposium/