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21.11.2007 Business & Finance

AGI observes Africa Industrialisation Day


Mr Joe Baidoo-Ansah, Minister of Trade, Industry, Private Sector Development and PSI, on Tuesday said his Ministry was liasing with the Education Ministry to establish a "Future Skills Advisory Board" to ensure that products from pre-tertiary and tertiary institutions meet the requirements of the job market at the appropriate levels.

He said the board would, among other things, seek to promote and enable the culture of Science and Technology, the pre-requisite for building the human capital to be entrenched in the system.

Mr Baidoo-Ansah, who was launching the seventh National Industrialisation Week in Accra, said policy was being directed not only to train, but also to retain the requisite Science and Technology manpower.

The celebration, which coincided with the Africa Industrialisation Day (AID), which is on the theme; "Technology and Innovation for Industry" was being organised by the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and United Nations Industrialisation and Development Organisation (UNIDO).

The Minister said the Ministry, in collaboration with the AGI to also initiate action to develop SMEs sub-contracting since it held a good prospect for the growth of the industrial sector as they (SMEs) stood to benefit from the transfer of technology from transformational corporations and other large industries.

Mr Baidoo-Ansah said recognising the crucial role Science and Technology played in accelerating the development and growth of the economy, the ministry had earmarked a number of programmes and projects under its Trade Sector Support Programme, to contribute to the attainment of Ghana's national development objectives.

"In this regard, the Ministry with the support of UNIDO has completed opportunity studies for the establishment of a Capital Goods Centre. The centre will comprise an integrated foundry, metal working and computer numerically controlled machines, metal finishing facilities, quality control equipment for the manufacture of precision parts and components," he said.

A joint statement from the Africa Union Commission, UN Economic Commission for Africa, UN Secretary General and UNIDO said for growth to be translated into sustained poverty reduction, greater attention needed to be placed on the quality of growth, its sustainability and spread.

Mr Antonios Levissanos, UNIDO Representative in Ghana, who read the speeches said, in that context, greater access to acquisition and application of science, technology and innovation were critical for African countries to raise the quality of their human capital and consequently, enhance pro-poor growth.

He said the theme for the celebration was a clarion call for a reorientation of policies and strategies in support of science, technology and innovation in all African countries.

"Africa, like the South East Asian region, needs to mobilise science, technology and innovation to meet its development challenges and for making progress towards the MDGs.

"Food insecurity, illiteracy, energy shortages, inadequate shelter, diseases including HIV/ AIDS, environmental degradation, among others, can be effectively addressed through harnessing the opportunities which science, technology and innovation offer," he added.

A speech read for Mr Srgjan Kerim, President of the UN General Assembly by Mr Dan Baffour-Awuah of UNIDO, commended UNIDO and UNDP for the close working relationship in supporting industrialisation and development efforts in Africa and elsewhere around the world.

"At the country-level UN system should continue to strive for greater coherence and co-ordination in order to support national efforts more effectively," he added.

Mr Kerim called for renewal of commitment to sustainable economic growth and development in Africa through industrial and technological development, technology-transfer, trade and investment, so that the continent might be able to attain the MDGs by 2015.

Mr Tony Oteng-Gyasi, President of AGI said the high cost of shipping a container from and out of Ghana had rendered the country non-competitive in terms of business.

He said parts of the high charges were paid to shipping companies for no service rendered.

"Although the government came out to say to say that those charges were illegal, the authorities concerned continue to charge them, thereby creating barriers on processing of goods in the country," he said.

He called for the leaders to learn to negotiate good things for their country.

Mr Oteng-Gyasi said manufacturing remained the backbone for all developed countries and any country that ignored manufacturing did that on its own peril.

"It would not be possible for a country to base develop on services because the goods need to be manufactured in the first place to pave way for the service market," he said.

Source: GNA