Technology transfer is the movement of data, designs, inventions, materials, software, technical knowledge or trade secrets from one organisation to another or from one purpose to another. Experts said the technology transfer process is guided by the policies, procedures and values of each organisation involved in the process.
Also known as transfer of technology (ToT), technology transfer can take place between universities, businesses and governments, either formally or informally, to share skills, knowledge, technologies, manufacturing methods, and more. This form of knowledge transfer helps ensure that scientific and technological developments are available to a wider range of users who can then help develop or exploit it. This transfer can occur horizontally across different areas or vertically by moving technologies, for example, from research centres to research and development teams.
This commercialisation can involve the creation of joint ventures, licensing agreements and partnerships to share the risks and rewards.
But an important part of tech transfer is the protection of intellectual property (IP) associated with innovations developed at research institutions, according to the Director General of the National Office forTechnology Transfer and Promotion (NOTAP), Dr Dan Azumi Ibrahim. This can mean licensing patented intellectual property to outside businesses or the creation of start-up companies to license the IP.
Economic experts have long recognised that the transfer of technology is at the heart of the process of economic growth and that the progress of both developed countries and developing countries depends on the extent and efficiency of such transfers. In recent years, economists have also come to realise (or rediscover) the important effects of international technology transfer on the size and patterns of world trade.
Methods of Technology Transfer
Technology transfer can take place using the following instruments.
1. Licensing– An agreement between the owner of the technology (Licensor) and the receiver (Licensee) which gives the right to use the technology developed or owned by the transferring individual or company for a specified time period is known as licensing.
The two broad categories of licensing include the one which grants exclusive rights to use the technology and another which grants non-exclusive rights wherein the owner reserves the right to further transfer the technology to other company apart from the receiver. It may also include the right to sub-license, permitting the licensee to grant someone else the right to use the technology.
2. Joint Venture Agreement– The company executes a joint venture agreement with respect to technology transfer for a particular business with a vision to incorporate long-term cooperation between the parties, the motivation of all participants in the successful transfer, and to incur lower costs as compared to working independently.
3. Franchising– It is one of the most preferred methods of transferring technology. The companies generally transfer technical know-how or skill involved under this type of agreement.
4. Original Equipment Manufacturer– It is a kind of sub-contracting agreement wherein a foreign company transfers a relevant portion of its technologies and a local company manufactures according to the specifications in the agreement. Such agreement enables local companies and firms to absorb technologies and restructure their production mechanism.
5. Buy-Back Contracts– It is a form of agreement between stakeholders from developing countries and large foreign companies, wherein a foreign company supplies industrial equipment in exchange for profits derived from the sale of raw materials or goods produced. This kind of technology transfer is often used in the construction of new plants and other related businesses.
It is interesting to note that a considerable amount of knowledge and technology exists today that enables the development of approaches and can effectively plan and implement business processes. What needs to see the light of day is a well-funded and potent mechanism for executing technology transfer between the stakeholders in order to ensure uninterrupted economic advancement.
NASENI, Uganda agree on technology transfer
But the need for African countries to look inward in the development of the region using science, technology and innovation came to the fore in Abuja recently as the Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive, National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) Engr. Prof Mohammed sani Haruna, on behalf the Federal Government, agreed to work with Ugandan Embassy in Nigeria in the areas of bilateral strategic partnership on technology transfer, agro processing, renewable energy amongst others.
The agreement was reached when the Uganda High Commissioner to Nigeria, Amb. Nelson Ocheger paid a courtesy call to NASENI in Abuja, seeking possible areas of collaborations with the Agency.
Receiving the delegation in his office after tour of the Agency’s facilities, Prof. Haruna, said the time had come for African leaders to look inward and to work together with fellow African countries to develop the continent using their local resources, technology, human capital, including patronage of goods and services produced within the African continent.
According to Haruna, “benefiting from each other’s advancements in technology and innovation is what will take Africa to where we want to be. Other continents do not want us to surpass them because we are their markets.”
While presenting the achievements and interventions by the Agency in power, agriculture, education, industries etc, he reiterated that the mandate of NASENI is to establish and nurture an appropriate and dynamic science and engineering infrastructure for achieving home-initiated and home-sustained industrialization through the development of relevant processes, capital goods and equipment necessary for job creation, national economic well-being and progress.
Earlier in his remarks, the Ugandan High Commissioner to Nigeria Mr. Nelson Ocheger who was represented by the Charge d’affairs, Brig-Gen Herbert Mbonye said their mission in NASENI was to identify the possible areas of collaboration with the Nigerian government in areas of technology transfer, renewable energy, agro processing, capacity building, oil and gas and education amongst others.
He said the only way to achieve such cooperation was by signing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Federal Government through NASENI, which according to him, has a similar mandate with Uganda Research and Development Institute (UREI ) to ensure transfer of appropriate technology for the development of the continent.
According to him, Uganda has taken time to diversify her economy especially in agro processing sector, adding that 85% of Uganda GDP was from agriculture. “We are number one in food processing in Africa and number three globally.” He explained.
“However, we may be in research and development, but technology on its own may end up in shelves. So we need capacity building in utilizing these technologies. We Africans have a long way to go, but inter-African cooperation is the way forward, adding that the Western World don’t have interest in sharing their technologies and ideas with Africans but perhaps show off of success. We must work together to strengthen our economies”, he said.
Airtel Africa launches Smartcash payment service bank in Nigeria
Airtel Africa, a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services with a presence in 14 countries across Africa, has launched SmartCash Payment Service Bank, its wholly-owned subsidiary, to provide secure and reliable financial services across Nigeria.
Headquartered in Lagos, it is accepting deposits from individuals and small businesses, carrying out payment and remittance services within Nigeria, and issuing debit and prepaid cards among other banking services. SmartCash also enables person-to-person payment and transfers from across the world. The service is currently available at selected retail touchpoints.
The company said plans are underway to expand the innovative, technology-driven services to all parts of the country, including the furthest and most remote, in an effort to accelerate financial inclusion for all Nigerians.The launch follows the granting of a license by the Central Bank of Nigeria. Already, SmartCash targets reaching the 36.8 per cent unbanked adult population in Nigeria, as estimated by the Access to Financial Services in Nigeria report.
Airtel Africa’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Segun Ogunsanya said: “The launch of SmartCash Payment Service Bank gives us fresh impetus at Airtel Afrca, to continue growing our footprint in the continent and delivering innovative solutions. In the bank, we have the best of both worlds – a hybrid of commercial bank and mobile financially services – offering last mile connection to the financially excluded. Through it, we want to contribute towards driving financial inclusion in Nigeria, to empower Nigerians while transforming the payment landscape in Nigeria and the rest of Africa.’’
The Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director of SmartCash Payment Service Bank, Muyiwa Ebitanmi, said: “Through SmartCash Payment Services Bank, we aim to bridge the financial divide by providing rural and urban Nigerians access to innovative, highly secured and reliable banking services that is powered by technology and is relevant to their needs”.