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Government to invest one per cent GDP into science and innovation

By
Godwill Arthur-Mensah/Jonas Danquah, GNA
    

Accra, July 17, GNA –
Government will invest one per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product
(GDP) in science, technology and innovation, Professor Kwabena
Frimpong-Boateng, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and
Innovation (MESTI), has said.

He said the Government
was scaling up efforts to invest in science and technology infrastructure to
enable Ghanaian innovators to achieve the skills they so much cherished.

“Our President has
promised to put science and technology at the centre of his government and
will, therefore, devote one per cent of the GDP into research and development,”
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng.

He said the Ministry
would establish a Presidential Advisory Council on Science, Technology and
Innovation (STI), draft a bill on STI Policy as well as set up STI Fund to
support research and development.

Prof. Frimpong-Boateng
said this at the opening of the 2017 Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA)
competition in Accra on Monday.

The competition, which
is the sixth edition, is on the theme: “African Innovation: Investing in
Prosperity.”

It brought together
various stakeholders including innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, leaders of
innovation hubs and technology parks, policy-makers as well as cutting-edge
African training institutions.

The event is being
organised by the African Innovation Foundation (AIF), in partnership with
MESTI, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre and the Ghana at 60 Secretariat.

The AIF, over the past
five years, had been playing active role in supporting the development of
African innovation ecosystems through ongoing collaborative programmes and
strategic partnerships with governments and innovation influencers across the
continent.

Prof. Frimpong-Boateng
said Ghana was determined to creating opportunities for economic growth and
prosperity through science and innovation.

In the quest to build
a solid science and technology infrastructure, he said the Ministry had
established technical committees that would assist in establishing STI centres
to support innovators to transform their ideas into industrial products.

“It is up to us as
Africans to drive African innovation forward and create long lasting prosperity
for the continent,” he said, adding; “Africans are capable of world class
innovation”.

Prof. Frimpong-Boateng
said the Ministry had established an incubation centre at the Council for
Scientific and Industrial Research to provide facilities that the technology
innovators needed in order to scale-up and make practical their innovations.

The technologies were
in various forms such as energy production, transportation, agriculture, road
construction and waste management as well as security for both domestic and
industrial purposes and cyber security.

The Minister noted
that those innovations that proved to be of industrial potential would be
supported to scale-up and commercialised to benefit the larger segment of the
society.

He said the event was
an important avenue for Ghanaian innovators and entrepreneurs to forge
partnerships with regional innovation leaders and expand the country’s
innovation foot print.

“The platform will
provide an opportunity for companies to forge important partnerships, synergies
and collaborations with innovation enablers across the continent to strengthen
Africa’s innovation investment climate,” he said.

Prof. Frimpong-Boateng
said it would provide an opportunity for Ghana to showcase some of her
innovative projects and strengthen the innovation ecosystems.

The IPA aims at
recognising Africans with innovative ideas that would enhance the lives of the
people.

There are 10 finalists
out of more than 2,000 applicants who entered this year’s competition.

They comprised Peris
Bosire, Kenya, Nokwethu Khojane, South Africa, Omolabake Adenle, Nigeria, Nzola
Swasisa, Democratic Republic of Congo and Badr Idriss from Morocco.

The rest are Aly
El-Shafei, Egypt, Dr Dougbeh-Chris Nyan, Liberia, Olanisun Olufemi Adewole,
Nigeria, Gift Gana, Zimbabwe and Philippa Ngaju Makobore from Uganda

The overall winner
would receive US$100,000, the first runner-up would take home US$25,000 and a
special prize of US$25,000 would be given to the nominee with project on social
impact while each nominee would take home US$5,000.

Mr Jean-Claude Bastos
De Morais, the Founder of the AIF, commended the Government for planning to
invest one per cent of the GDP into science and innovation and expressed belief
that it would positively change the African innovation market place for good.

He said the Foundation
was determined to shape and unlock African innovation potentials for the
prosperity of the continent.

Mr De Morais said the
Foundation instituted the Innovation Prize for Africa to create and unearth the
African innovation spirit and reward excellent work.

So far, he said, the
Foundation had created a database of 7,500 innovations from 52 African
countries and that, this year alone, it received 2,530 innovations from 48
countries in Africa.

The competition had
been successful in Ethiopia (2012), South Africa (2013), Nigeria (2014),
Morocco (2015) and Botswana (2016).

GNA

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