Professor Wellington Thwala of the University of Johannesburg in South Africa, on Wednesday said the creation of more labour- intensive programmes in African countries can help eradicate the unemployment and poverty problems on the continent.
He explained that since such programmes have labour as its dominant resource for carrying out work, employment will be created thereby improving income distribution, housing and enhancing the living conditions of people.
Prof Thwala said this at the first “Applied Research Conference in Africa” (ARCA) at Elmina, organized by the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Alumni in collaboration with its Cape Coast Polytechnic Branch.
The three day conference, which is aimed at providing a platform for capacity building and networking among researchers in Africa, is on the theme “significance of research and development in nation building”, and is being attended by researchers from African countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya south Africa and others from Europe and Asia.
Prof Thwala said the labour- intensive programme is not new to Africa stating that a 12,000km of rural access roads have been constructed and over 80,000 man years of employment have been created in Kenya all through the programme, adding that, Tunisia, Botswana and Morocco have benefited.
He however stated that failure to adjust programmes, lack of precision about target groups, lack of political commitment, inadequate post-projects maintenance are some of the short comings of the programme and called for serious attention to make the programme effective.
He called for the collaboration between researchers and policy makers in order to make world class decisions that will help make Africa a better place, adding that, African researchers should fight for space through publishing and presenting the work they have done in order to influence policy makers.
Some of the scientific research papers to be presented at the conference are “Engineering”, “Built Environment”, “Hospitality and Tourism”, “Food Science”, “Oil, Gas and Energy”, “Medicine”, “Statistical Modeling”, “Information and Communication Technology”, “Applied Sciences and Arts”, “Business”, “Social Sciences” and “Humanities”.
A 420 page ARCA conference book, reviewed by senior researchers like Prof Adarkwa, former vice chancellor of KNUST and Prof Robert Inkum, Provost of College of Science at KNUST was launched to enhance conference activities.