Ghana is ranked at 102 0ut of 134 countries in the Global Competitiveness Report for 2008, in spite of the fact that labour cost in the country is low. And businesses in the country are considered ‘factor driven’ rather than technology and the country has been identified as having low infrastructure for business development.
A report carried by the B&FT indicated that this was made known when the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) met to collaborate in an effort aimed at boosting the competitiveness level of local industries.
The two organisations commenced a joint initiative aimed at realising effective collaboration between industry and research on January 20, 2009 in Accra. The objective of the collaboration is to promote science and technology innovation in national development.
There has always been very little meaningful collaboration between the country’s industrial sector and research institutions. The two sectors have not worked together effectively to promote the development of new or improved products, processes and systems that yield commercial return or deliver public good, the report noted.
Meanwhile, experts have increasingly pointed to the disconnection between the country’s industry and research and development as the chief contributor to Ghana’s uncompetitiveness in the global economy.
The Global Competitiveness Report 2008, ranks Ghana at 102 out of 134 countries, while indicating that the country remains a “factor driven” economy. And although labour costs are low in the country, which ranks the country 46, the country is low on productivity standing at 127 and it is characterised by poor infrastructure and human capital.
The B&FT quoted the Director General of the CSIR, Dr. Abdulai Baba Salifu, saying: “This is a shared vision of stakeholders, where all of our 13 institutions covering all aspects of our lives, including agriculture, industry and health, align what we can do to the technological needs of the private sector.”
CSIR proposes the use of the Technology Platform Concept, which better aligns research priorities to industry’s needs by covering the whole economic value chain. “This ensures that knowledge generated through research is transformed into technologies and processes and ultimately into marketable products and services,” Dr. Salifu said.
He disclosed that state funding for research has rather been poor and researchers have usually sourced funding from donor supporters.
“Such funds usually determine what research is undertaken, and these may not necessarily be what addresses the needs of the country’s industries,” he said.
The President of the AGI, Mr. Tony Oteng-Gyasi, according to the report, disclosed that industrialists are considering the possibility of reverse-engineering technology whereby equipment and parts procured outside are subsequently fabricated within the country.
Oteng-Gyasi disclosed also that the AGI contracted all presidential candidates in the 2008 elections, to develop a National Industrial Policy within the first six months of the new administration.
The report quoted Oteng-Gyasi as saying: “The CSIR and AGI collaboration could start on a firmer ground by beginning the development of an industrial policy to be presented to government, which will then be a critical input into development of the National Industrial Policy.”
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi