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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has reiterated that the implementation of sectoral policies, programmes and strategies are all geared towards the overall national science, technology and innovation policy for national development.


To achieve this feat, President Akufo-Addo said there have been “a lot of conferences, debates, points, and counterpoints, in and outside Ghana, all geared towards addressing the seemingly intractable problem of the Ghanaian economy's industrialisation deficit.”


President Akufo-Addo underscored this point at the opening of the National Conference on Bridging the Technology Gap at the Peduase Valley Resort, in Peduase. 


The conference brought together scientists, engineers, technologists and innovators drawn from within Ghana and the diaspora, comprising Dr. Joseph Odartey Cruickshank, a Consulting Engineer, Aerodynamics, General Electric, Houston, Texas and Professor. A.O. Ebo Richardson of the California State University.


The first pillar of the policy framework, according to President Akufo-Addo, ensued from a pledge in the NPP 2016 Manifesto that Science Technology and Innovation would receive much attention from the President.


He noted that various policies on science, technology and innovation had been instituted by succeeding governments in an attempt to address and jumpstart the country's march to the heights of technical sophistication.


In order to bridge the technological gap in the country's transformational drive, the President announced that the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation (MESTI), Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, is in the process of developing a science and technology policy framework that will hinge on seven pillars.


“By a Notice of Instrument, I have recently established a Presidential Advisory Council on Science, Technology and Innovation (PACSTI) as an advisory body situated at the Presidency.


“PACSTI, composed of eminent Ghanaian scientists drawn from diverse fields, will advise the President on matters relating to STI, and keep him fully informed about current advances in STI, and their relevant applications towards national development,” the President stated.


 The second pillar is the co-ordination of all sectoral activities involving Science, Technology and Innovation through an Inter-Ministerial Coordinating Council on Science, Technology and Innovation.


The Council’s mandate emphasizes close collaboration among key Ministries such as Trade and Industry, Agriculture, Aviation, Education, Energy, Communications, Business Development, Local Government, Sanitation and Water Resources, Lands and Natural Resources, Roads and Highways and Transport. 


The third pillar recognises the need for strong partnership between Government, public research institutions, the scientific academic community and industry.


The impending establishment of the Ghana Innovation and Research Commercialisation Centre (GIRC-Centre), indicates that the Centre will serve as the bridge between the Government, Public Research Institutions, and Academia on one hand, and Industry on the other. It will also provide incubation centres with basic facilities our innovators will need, and add a further perspective to the work being undertaken by the National Entrepreneurship and Innovations Plan.


Pillar four, is founded on the premise that funding for Research and Development (R&D) on Science, Technology and Innovation, currently negligible, must be raised to a significant level.


“That is why I have pledged that a minimum one per cent of Ghana’s GDP will be applied towards R&D in the short to medium term, to be increased to 2.5% in the long term. I am determined that this pledge be met,” he assured.


Describing the fifth pillar as the most crucial, President Akufo-Addo said, his Government attaches extreme importance to the teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at all levels of the nation’s educational system.


The sixth pillar affirms that the framework for the STI programme must be backed by legislation to give it teeth, and ensure continuity in its implementation.


Legislation, according to President Akufo-Addo, is being drafted for an STI bill to be approved by Parliament to facilitate the implementation of the STI Policy, and also institutionalise statutory backing for the policy.


The seventh pillar has a strong focus on the development of strategic technology areas such as agriculture and food processing; environment, waste management and circular economy; oil and gas sector; bio-fuels, green energy and energy storage systems; health and pharmaceuticals; information and communications technology (ICT), with emphasis on 3-d printing, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, micro-controllers and processors and software engineering; financial technology (Fintech); mining and minerals processing; and manufacturing, based on precision machining and digital manufacturing.


In pursuit of MESTI’s focus on strategic technologies and centres of excellence, President Akufo-Addo revealed that the Ministry is collaborating with the Ministry of Education to set up a Foundry and a Computer Numerical Control Machine Tools Centre both in Accra and Kumasi.


“These facilities will be engaged to manufacture tools, equipment and instruments to support key sectors of the economy such as agriculture and industry.


The goal of this initiative is to accelerate industrialisation, help solve the problem of widespread unemployment in the country, and help generate wealth that will stay in the country,” he stressed.


 With the full implementation of these policies, President Akufo-Addo was expectant that “we will begin to see clearly the contours of a Ghana Beyond Aid.


It will be a prosperous Ghana, whose economy is led by an entrepreneurial and innovative private sector. It will be a country serving as the regional hub for financial services with full employment, low poverty rate, stable currency and low inflation.”


Source: ISD (Rex Mainoo Yeboah)