The Deputy Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, (MESTI) Mrs Patricia Appiagyei has disclosed the agency's decision to establish a Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Framework and a Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Fund to support research and development as well as a Presidential Advisory Council on Science, Technology and Innovation (PACSTI) to serve as an advisory body at the presidency that will ensure the smooth implementation of the policy.
The Deputy Minister for MESTI, Mrs Appiagyei delivering her speech.
She said that the ministry will also operationalize the Ghana Innovation and Research Commercialization Center (GIRC-Center) in September 2019 to drive research institutions and academia in the country and also help create jobs and accelerate development.
Mrs Appiagyei made these remarks at the inaugural Professor Alexander Kwapong Lecture Series "Nature Speaks", a new initiative by the United Nations Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA) at the University of Ghana, Legon.
She said that the lecture series comes at a time when Ghana is working to promote its development agenda featuring innovation and technology as central themes.
She noted government's awareness of the need for technology in promoting prosperous economies which is evident in the allocation of one per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to the field of Science and Technology, the introduction of the National Digital Address System and the E-court process.
She added that MESTI will provide leadership and guidance in the fields of science, environment, technology and innovation through sound policy formation and implementation.
Guest Speaker for the event, Dr Frannie Leautier, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, Asset Management at the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank gave a detailed presentation on the theme "Innovation, Infrastructure, Technology and the Promise of New Growth for Natural Resource Management in Africa- Blind Alleys or Transformational Change?"
Dr Leautier delivering her lecture.
She took attendees through how technology and innovation can promote growth in Africa while managing the available resources.
She explained six key questions revolving around patterns and shifts, dynamics, complexity and issues, leadership and governance approaches that are crucial for every leader to consider.
She noted four major spheres of change in the globalized world namely people, resources, economies and technology.
Dr Leautier stated that it is relevant for Africa to maange its resources because 30 per cent of the world's remaining mineral resources are found there. Resources such as fresh water, strategic ores and rare earths must be enhanced through innovation to develop the continent she noted.
She said that innovations such as turning air into water or using a single cow to obtain up to a 100 industrial products can help to address the challenges facing Africa.
She also urged investment and partnerships in Small and Medium scale Enterprises (SMEs) in Africa that are focusing on innovation for development, pointing out that about 90 per cent of jobs come from these SMEs.
She again urged leaders to focus on areas such as food security, transport innovation and improvements in electricity with concentration on renewable energy in order to industrialize without emissions that will affect the environment.
The Vice Chancellor for the University of Ghana, Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu said that the UNU-INRA lecture series is a timely initiative that has potential to contribute to the efforts of academics and researchers and close the gap between African scientific output and Africa's development strategies.
He added that the University of Ghana and INRA have the responsibility to identify the challenges for research and promote efficient institutional framework to deliver technological solutions for sustainable management of natural resources and industrialize growth in Africa.
Director for the UNU-INRA, Dr Fatima Denton, said that the African continent is grappling with mega trends related to rapid urbanization, youth employment and technology deficit.
She highlighted the UNU-INRA's work which she said is central to raising awareness on the interactions between natural resources and growth.
The lecture series was organised by UNU-INRA in honor of the late Professor Kwapong for his role in establishing the UNU-INRA. He was also the first Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana and the first African Vice-Rector of the United Nations University.
The event was attended by his family, lecturers from the University of Ghana, officials from the UNU-INRA and the media.