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“We cannot end poverty without science and technology”- Prof Frimpong Boateng

. Professor Kwabena
Frimpong Boateng, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and
Innovation (MESTI), has underscored the important role of science and
technology in ending poverty in Ghana and Africa as a whole.

He said it was regrettable science and
technology contributed to less than one per cent of Ghana’s GDP, which was very
small compared to Africa’s average of 2.5 per cent, resulting in a huge gap
between the continent and the rest of the world in all the scientific
disciplines.

This, he said, was disappointing adding that
“we cannot end poverty without science and technology; we cannot get supply of
sustainable clean water and good sanitation without serious attention to
science”, while the sustainable energy for all being desired would only be an
illusion if strong emphasis were not laid on these scientific disciplines.

He said it was the government’s conviction to
in the next four years, achieve 1.5 per cent by stimulating demand for science
and technology from the private sector while establishing a merit-based
research system in order to encourage and facilitate scientific research
priority sectors of the economy.

Prof. Frimpong Boateng said this in a speech
read on his behalf at a durbar hosted by the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission
(GAEC) in Accra, to climax the week-long activities for the commemoration of
the Africa Scientific Renaissance Day, which had been on the theme: “Promoting
Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable National Development”.

He said although the challenges were enormous
and one could easily be overwhelmed, there is the need for all scientists to
shed any doubt or despair and to rise up to the necessities of the times, by
challenging themselves to think solutions to the myraid of problems that
bedeviled the country.

He called for a concerted effort in making
science and mathematics a serious determinant for meeting the demands of the
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), saying all advanced countries, have
achieved economic growth and improvement in their standard of living, through
Science and technology.

However the reality of a vicious cycle of
deprivation, lower incomes, and excessive importation of foreign goods
continues to rob African countries of similar advancements using these tools,
he said.

Prof. Frimpong Boateng said the programme,
which was being organised under the auspices of MESTI, as an annual event
initiated by the then Organisation of African Unity, now the African Union in
1987, was to recognise the great contribution of scientists in the region, to
current development in these scientific disciplines.

It also offered African countries the
opportunity to take a retrospective view of their unique situation, and assess
science and technology in the context of sustainable national development.

There is the urgent need to address the
anomaly through the advancement of policies, improved educational and
attitudinal change approaches, and increased investment.

He said government intended to strengthen the
collaboration among industries, universities and research centres to promote
the commercialisation of scientific research outputs, while forming
partnerships with local and international institutions to establish Centres of
Excellence across the country that networked all higher education and research
institutions.

“We want to step up our efforts at achieving
60:40 Science-Humanities student ratio by expanding Science, Technology,
Engineering and Mathematics scholarship schemes”, he said.

Prof. Frimpong Boateng said the Ministry’s
collaboration with GAEC had also made huge strides by establishing the Ghana
Space Science and Technology Institute, for spatial research and training, to
enhance agriculture, water resources, urban development, mineral prospecting,
environment, drought and flood forecasting, ocean resources and disaster
management.

Again the progress being made so far by GAEC
and its affiliated institute to develop a comprehensive Nuclear Power Programme
that would eventually lead to cheap and sustainable electricity generation into
Ghana’s energy mix, a stable tariff regime, boost industry performance, and job
creation would deepen science and technology by the development of high Tech
industries.

He urged all the research institutions
including GAEC and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR),
to foster collaboration at institute levels to maximise their outputs.

Prof. Benjamin Jabez B.Nyarko, the
Director-General of GAEC, whose address was also read on his behalf, said
without doubt, the African had huge potential and could emerge from the “dark
continent” tag and shed off the old ways of doing things that has yielded no
significant results.

He said that it is gratifying that the
government has recognised the enormity of the situation and renewed its
commitment to support science and technology’s increase to GDP growth.

He urged the research institutions to
facilitate networking and co-operation, strengthen links between science and
technology, and increase returns on investments in these disciplines.

 

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