The event, slated for July 17 and 18 this year, is a collaboration between the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), and Ghana 60 Years on Planning Committee and the African Innovation Foundation (AIF).
Themed “African Innovation: Investing in Prosperity,” President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is expected to deliver the keynote address at the Awards ceremony.
Addressing the opening session of a roundtable on the theme “Investing in Home Grown Innovation: Opportunities for Ghanaians,” Prof Boateng said the event would provide Ghana the opportunity to demonstrate to the world ‘what is happening in the area of innovation and more especially what the young people of Ghana are capable of achieving in the future.’
“Ghana is a country of innovators and given the right tools, encouragement and support the creative potential of Ghanaians, especially the young ones will be unleashed to find solutions to socio-economic challenges facing us,” he said.
He said government had initiated a policy to place Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) at the centre of the country’s development agenda and that government would do its part by providing all the inputs, such as developing market-enhancing governance structures.
The Minister was optimistic about the future of the STI in the country ‘because there is now a palpable confluence of favourable factors that would certainly promote STI.’
The factors include; the realisation of the generality of Ghanaians that the poverty gap is a technology gap, the commitment of the President to establish a fund for Research and Development as well as other Science, Technology and Innovation related activities and an innovation community that is motivated to prove to themselves and the world that they have what it takes to contribute to the world’s pool of knowledge and solutions to challenges.
Prof Frimpong Boateng expressed the hope that Ghanaians would rise up to the task and present exciting product at the Market Place to make the country proud.
“I wish to encourage the enterprising youth of Ghana to take advantage of this opportunity to showcase their innovative ideas and products,” he added.
Ms Pauline Mujawamariya Koelbl, the IPA Director, said the goal of the IPA was to strengthen African innovation ecosystems through supporting a culture of innovation and competitiveness, whilst spurring growth of innovative, market-driven African solutions to Africa challenges.
She said the sixth edition would bring together selected stakeholders comprising of innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, leaders of innovation hubs and technology parks, policy makers as well as cutting-edge African training institutions.
Ms Koelbl lauded Ghana’s quest to take home grown innovation to the next level and urged Ghanaian companies, institutions and investment community to partner with the AIF and support Ghana’s pursuit of its innovation development milestones.
The roundtable was conducted with the objective of creating a network of innovation practitioners, representing the Ghanaian innovation ecosystems in order to drive innovation research and practice in Ghana and West Africa as a whole.
To date, AIF has supported close to 50 African innovators with approximately US$ 1 million to help kick-start their ventures. The IPA 2017 will offer a Grand prize of US$100,000.