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ElBaradei commends Ghana's strong science, technology base

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Accra, Jan. 22, GNA - The Director-General of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Dr Mohammed ElBaradei, at the weekend praised Ghana's efforts to establish a strong science and technology base for the acceleration of the country's development. He told a durbar of the staff of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), after touring the research facilities of the Commission: "I'm quite impressed with what I saw in Ghana. I will go back to Vienna with a lot of hope."

Prof Daniel Adzei Bekoe, Chairman of the Commission and Prof Edward Akaho, Director General, had led Dr ElBaradei to tour some laboratories of the Commission at Kwabenya, near Accra-the Ghana Research Reactor 1 Centre, the Radioactive and Waste Safety Department, the Gamma Irradiation Facility and the Tissue Culture Centre.

Dr ElBaradei, who was on a three-day official visit to the country, at the instance of President John Agyekum Kufuor placed nuclear science and technology at the core of the country's development. He said the good climate for education and good governance gave hope that Ghana was on the path of its ambition to rapidly develop science and technology.

Dr ElBaradei said it was necessary to increase on energy production within the next few years, adding that the IAEA would continue to lend support to countries, which showed commitment.

Prof Akaho said Ghana after extensive consultations with staff of the IAEA's Technical Co-operation within the African Section, had agreed upon a medium technical co-operation project called the Country Programme Framework under the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy.

The projects were selected to address problems of national priorities on health, nutrition, agriculture, nuclear safety and security, water resource management and human resources development. Prof Akaho commended the assistance of the IAEA in the activities of the Commission.

He said the Commission was making serious efforts to commercialise its Research and Development (R&D) activities, and was also actively seeking funding from government and other partners to revitalise existing projects and to initiate new ones.

One of such new ones, he said, was the establishment of a Tandem Accelerator Laboratory to support nuclear physics and materials engineering research programmes.

Prof Akaho said the proposed establishment of the School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences in the University of Ghana, Legon, would enhance the partnership between Ghana and the IAEA, and strengthen the implementation of national and regional technical co-operation projects.

While the in country, Dr ElBaradei witnessed on Friday the inauguration the Radiotherapy Centre for the treatment of cancer at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi, for which the IAEA had so far contributed over five million dollars to cover radiotherapy equipment, staff training and services of experts.

He paid a courtesy call on President Kufuor and held consultations with top Government Ministers on areas of enhancing technical co-operation between the IAEA and Ghana.

Ghana was the third African country south of the Sahara to become a member of the IAEA in September 1960 and had since benefited from the IAEA's Technical Cooperation Projects including financial support of more than 123 million dollars. 22 Jan. 05

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