Ghana is making efforts to meet the African Union’s recommendation to member states to allocate at least one per cent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to scientific research.
Mr Mahama Ayariga, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), who said this, put Ghana’s current investment in Science and Technology at between 0.2 and 0.5 per cent of GDP.
The African Union in a resolution in 1980, stipulated the threshold for investment, in its Lagos Plan of Action.
The Minister made the statement in a speech, read by his deputy, Dr Alfred Sugri Tia, to commemorate this year’s Scientific Renaissance of Africa Day, hosted by the Water Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, (CSIR) in Accra.
Ghana’s theme for the year is: “Sustainable Water Resources Management in Ghana”.
The African Union set aside June 30, in 1987, to annually create awareness about the importance of Science, Technology and Innovation for national development in the various member-states.
Mr Ayariga said the Government was thus making a lot of efforts to establish a sustainable source of funding for scientific research, through sources such as the Science and Technology Research Endowment Fund (STREFund) and the Science, Technology and Innovation Fund (STIFund).
He, therefore, urged the CSIR to reposition itself towards championing the course of a long-term national socio-economic development plan the through enhanced research.
The CSIR, he said, should also strengthen its collaboration and networking with the private sector for additional funding support.
It should also actively engage the media to help boost publicity to create public awareness on their activities and achievements.
Mr Ayariga said there had been identified gaps between the research outputs and innovation of the CSIR over the years.
“However these research outputs and innovations are what investors and businesses need to address their short-comings and promote their activities,” he said.
The Minster said it was, therefore, imperative that the CSIR, and other public sector agencies, worked through networking and collaborations to overcome all challenges that may hinder their performance and achievements.
He, however, commended the CSIR for the significant contributions made to the overall improvement in the wellbeing of Ghanaians through various projects.
He said these were achieved against the backdrop of against of abysmally low public perception of the role of science and technology in national development and limited financial resources.
The CSIR has 13 institutions, which undertake research into the diverse aspects of national development.
Mr Ayariga said protecting the country’s water resources was very critical, and urged the CSIR to develop strategies that would assist to sustainably manage the resources for posterity.
Dr Rose Emma Mamaa Entsua-Mensah, the Deputy Director-General of the CSIR, said the CSIR would among other things, advance the generation, development and transfer of appropriate technologies, information and services for sustainable development.
It would also develop technologies and strategies to enhance public health status through sound environmental management, and ensure water pollution control, prevent invasive species, as well as introduce measures against water-borne and other infectious diseases.
It would also lead in undertaking the commercialisation of research and development activities through consultancy and advisory services, and provide water resources information, documentation and technical support services.
She paid tribute to the hardworking and selfless scientists who had defied all odds to continuously explore the power of science, technology and innovation for national development and the existence of humanity.
The various Divisions under the Water Research Institute made presentations on their work to the stakeholders.