Abuja - President Goodluck Jonathan said Federal Government would promote the emergence of African University of Science and Technology (AUST) as a research institution.
He said that this would enable the university to contribute new discoveries and innovations vital to the growth of knowledge-based economy in the country.
Jonathan made the pledge at the 4th Convocation of the University in Abuja on Saturday.
The president, represented by the Minister of Science and Technology, Ita Bassey-Ewa, expressed the hope that Nigeria would make its much mark in the global economy.
He said that science and technology were the engines of economic growth and prosperity in any country.
The president said that the development of science had been apparent in western and eastern countries over the last few centuries.
He cited China and India as countries that have advanced their economies significantly through science and technology.
"However, in the case of Africa, the number of scientists and engineers per million people is still largely inadequate."
Jonathan stressed the need to urgently develop strategies that would enable Africa develop into the knowledge-based player in the global market which the time demands.
"Here in Nigeria, our target is to develop into one of the top 20 global economies by 2020.
"This is a goal that can only be achieved if we consolidate on our development of world-class capacity in science and technology," he said.
Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Finance, Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Chairperson of the board of AUST, called on graduates to be worthy ambassadors of Africa.
She congratulated the class of 2013 on the successful completion of their degree programmes at AUST, noting that ``this year is a historic year in the life of AUST."
The minister said that AUST also at the convocation graduated its first PhD student, Dr Yekini Shehu, in Pure and Applied Mathematics.
She called on the students to remember that much "is expected of them in the years ahead."
"We expect you to lead lives of service in which you use your knowledge of science, technology and innovation to contribute to the sustainable development of Africa."
A total of 64 MSc students graduated in Computer Science, Materials Science, Engineering, Petroleum Engineering, Pure and Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics.