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Opinions of Friday, 6 September 2013

Columnist: Sakyi, Kwesi Atta

Do we need a think-tank in Ghana?

By Kwesi Atta Sakyi

Writing articles and contributing them to Ghanaweb and other media has increased widely my network, and brought me in touch with many people in the Diaspora, some of whom are people with substantial academic qualifications and plenty of professional experience. Some of these people in the Diaspora have mooted to me several times the need to form a Diaspora Think-Tank to contribute ideas towards the development of our country.

I think I have bitten the bullet and I am all systems go for the idea, because the intellectual and human capital of Ghana outside Ghana was nurtured and paid for the hard way through taxpayers’ money, and such incalculable wealth out there in the Diaspora has to be harnessed and husbanded for the greater good of our dear country. I am still looking forward to the Government establishing a Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, or appointing a Diasporean to handle and coordinate Ghanaian Diasporeans for the good cause of Ghana.

A Diaspora think-tank can be an information exchange bank, as well as a forum where big brains brainstorm on some of the crucial issues besieging our country, such as power deficiency, among others. There is for example, my big brother, Dr Ofori Quaah, whose knowledge is as wide as the Pacific Ocean. He is a highly respected seismologist, petro-geologist, nuclear physicist, and social commentator and critic. He currently lives in the UK. I wonder why we cannot make good use of such brilliant brains in our government. Why should we tie all appointments to political affiliation?

Do we want inclusive development or divisive and polarized development? Indeed, our social and economic development in Ghana continues to suffer from bi-polar partisan disorder. Dr Quaah is in touch with my townsman, Dr Ekow Gharban, one of the biggest mathematical brains ever in the whole of Africa. Gharban was my senior one year at the Winneba Methodist Boys' School before he went to GSTS in Takoradi, where he swept the tables in his PHYMAMA A Level results, and went on to KNUST where he obtained First Class in Electrical Engineering, and went on to Imperial College, London to obtain his master's and doctorate degrees.

Ghana has not obtained any contribution from him in terms of work output, though his seminal papers may be available online or in international journals for perusal. He went to work many years in Saudi Arabia, China and Malaysia where I learn he developed sophisticated power generation systems for those countries. Is it a case of a prophet without recognition in his own country? We need to woo such of our sons to come home and help. In the 70s, when Dr Ekow Gharban was at KNUST, he was known to many by his moniker of Kofi Pro.

Ekow is still living in retirement in the UK with his family, though with the effects of a stroke he suffered many years ago lingering on. I met his younger sister at home in Winneba, and she was bitter that Ekow had turned his back on them. Perhaps, like me and other Ghanaians in the Diaspora, this is payback time for Ghana by forming a think-tank to generate useful ideas for nation-building. One would say why a think-tank by Diasporeans when we have the Council of State, Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences( GAAS), among other noble institutions in Ghana?

I have read from Diasporean forumers (such as Marcus Ampadu ) that there is the need to implement STEMS education in Ghana, with emphasis on Science, Technology, English, Mathematics and Social Studies. Many of you who keep tabs on Ghanaweb forumers know great contributors such as Kofi of Africa, CY ANDY-K Kwawukume, Paa Kwesi Mintah, Sam Dodoo, Paul Amuna, Kojo T, among others. Perhaps we can coalesce into a great brains trust or think-tank to advise government, so as to circumvent the need to outsource and offshore consultancy work to exorbitant foreign consultants.

Contact: kwesiattasakyi449@gmail.com