Ghana needs more skilled and dedicated scientists and technologists in sufficient numbers if it hopes to break the cycle of poverty in the country.
Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), who made the call, said the way was to create jobs through industrialisation to improve the wellbeing of the citizenry.
He was speaking at the 31st Biennial Conference of the Ghana Science Association (GSA) held in Cape Coast under the theme: “promoting science, technology and innovation for sustainable growth and development.”
Prof Frimpong-Boateng said countries that have transitioned from underdevelopment thrived on the back of deliberate policies that utilised the application of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) for development.
“Throughout history, major transformative shifts in countries growth and development trajectories have often been linked with the successful application of STI.
“The experience of successful developing countries shows that STI policies that are well integrated into national development strategies and combined institutional and organisational changes can help raise productivity, improve firm competitiveness, support faster growth and above all create jobs,” he said.
Buttressing his views on the need to train more scientists, he said Africa is home to more than 15 per cent of the World’s population, it produces less than 1.5 per cent of the World’s scientific knowledge.
He acknowledged that poverty reduction, environmental degradation, food and energy security, health, climate change, wealth creation and sustainable development are all complex issues that demand their own set of responses to address them efficiently.
As an integral part of the efforts to change the narrative, he announced that Government has initiated sectoral policies, programmes and strategies that are being implemented on the bases of the overall national science, technology and innovation policy.
However, he stressed the urgent need for prioritisation and greater commitment to ensure that adequate and stable funding is provided for the implementation of the national science and technology plan.
Professor Alex Dodoo, Director General, Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), called on members of GSA to be radical, responsive and relevant in the nation’s quest to accelerate development beyond aid and freebies.
The reality of the situation, he said, is that STI have not kept pace with population growth to create the needed jobs, and noted that “the investments Ghana has made in STI have not commensurate impact in terms of jobs, economic emancipation and national development.”
He told Ghanaian scientists to be bold to confront the government and stand up to be counted by moving from their comfort zone.
Ghanaian scientists and technologists must also to take-up the challenge of using Ghanaian science, academic expertise, raw materials, and professionals to build appropriate social infrastructural, energy and services to propel economic growth.