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Business News of Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Source: GNA

Ghana developing LI to support research

Ghana is developing a legislative Instrument (LI) to establish a Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Fund to address the inadequacy in funding research and development programmes.

Dr Mohammed Alfa, Deputy Minister of Science, Environment, Technology and Innovation, who made this known said: “there cannot be any meaningful Research and Development (R&D) without adequate funding.” He said the urgency of attracting research funding is tied to efficient management of the attracted funding and resources.

Speaking at the Network for the Coordination and Advancement of Sub Saharan Africa –EU Science ( CAAST-Net Plus) event on Climate Change in Accra, on Monday, he said though there are pressing developmental pressures on national coffers, the priorities of development challenges government to commit resources to address immediate concerns of the ordinary people.

Ghana currently spends about 0.3 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product on R&D. He said there is a growing international policy debate on STI collaboration and commended the European Union for adopting the “Strategic European Framework for international Science and Technology Cooperation” in 2008.

The STI cooperation improves national competiveness, support capacity building, create good and stable diplomatic relationship and tackle global societal challenge such as climate change, food and nutrition security, health issues and sustainable energy resources.

Dr Alfa said the current global trends put a lot of pressure for internationalisation of R&D as a tool for improving STI performance on the African continent. Ghana like any developing country requires a strong R&D capacity to put STI at the forefront of the develop Agenda, Dr Alfa said.

“We acknowledge that without a strong R7D System the Ghana Share Growth Development Agenda, which is the national medium term agenda, cannot be achieved,” he said. The formulation of STI policy and development plan for 2010-2011 was not enough to achieve development goals, he said.

Dr Alfa said what is key is the implementation of the policy and plan through a strong and well built STI capacities. Dr Abdulai Baba Salifu, Director General of the Council for Scientific and industrial Research (CSIR) said any opportunity to facilitate research in Ghana is most welcome because scientific institutions need support to deliver on their mandate.

“Some have been very innovative in ensuring that they carry on R&D activities in spite of the limitation of resources. But for programmes like CAAST NET Plus we are able to access tangible and intangible resources when we partner with our European counterpart,” he said.

He expressed delight that CSIR‘s Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI) was one of the participating institution of the laudable bi-regional initiative. He said STEPRI’s roles in work package two and five of CAAST-Net Plus which seek to improve Africa- Europe STI cooperation on Climate change and Agriculture were key on Ghana’s national policy agenda.

Africa sub region brought together researchers in Africa and beyond to discuss issues related to cooperation in R&D between Africans and European researchers especially in key subjects as such as climate. Dr George Essegbey, Director of STEPRI said the institute would continue to undertake activities that would enhance research and innovation in Ghana and Africa because the world moves on wheels of innovation. “We would ensure that policy environment is conducive to research and innovation,” he said. Ms Arne Tostenten, Chair of Michelssen Institute, Norway said climate change is one of the global challenges facing mankind, noting that focus should be on adaption in agriculture and promotion of food security. The International event brought together researchers in West Africa and beyond to discuss issues related to cooperation in A&D between and African and European Researchers especially in a key subject as climate change.