Ms Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology on Thursday noted that government has increased funding for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) development in Ghana from 0.2 per cent of GDP to 0.4 per cent.
She said the institution of core STI programmes such as the Mathematics, Science and Technology Scholarship Scheme and ICT projects shows the priority that government has given to the Innovation in its development agenda.
She said so far government has spent about GH¢32 million in the implementation of the programmes
Ms Ayittey was speaking at the launch of the STI Fund and the inauguration of the STI Board in Accra.
The nine-member board which has Mr Ato Ampiah, Chief Executive of the Tema Oil Refinery as its Chairman include Professor Mahama Duweija, National Council for Tertiary Education, Mr Stephen Djaba of Geo-Tech Systems Limited, Nana Osei-Bonsu, Director General, Private Enterprise Foundation and Professor Ralf Mills Tettey, Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The rest are Mr Daniel Asiedu, Managing Director of Zenith Bank, Dr Abdulai Salifu, Director General, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Dr Innocent Aboh, Ghana Atomic Energy Commission and Mr Hamidu Adakurgu, Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology.
She said lack of sustainable funding mechanisms for STI development has led to low output of STI service providers thereby creating a wide gap between research institutions and industry.
Ms Ayittey said the STI fund is expected to be one of the flagships leading the way towards a culture of nourishing new ideas, generating and sharing knowledge as well as fostering entrepreneurial mindsets.
She said for the country to boost innovation it has to put emphasis on entrepreneurship research leading to transferable technologies to support the private sector.
“I believe that the STI Fund has therefore a unique opportunity to make a real and lasting difference to Ghana’s science, technology and innovation landscape,” she added.
Ms Ayittey also said the STI fund would focus on building and sustaining excellence in science and technology by helping the youth to develop skills relevant to sustained employment, innovation and economic development.
She said the STI fund is a necessity that the nation cannot do without in its quest to encourage science and technology innovation.
She expressed the belief that the STI fund would be used to promote programmes and projects in national priority areas such as agriculture, health, environment, ICT and education of researchers.