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01.09.2005 Regional News

Roundtable discussion on NMI opens in Kumasi


Kumasi, Sept 1, GNA - Mr Sampson Kwaku Boafo, Ashanti Regional Minister, on Thursday called for an effective and efficient co-ordination of research and development activities to create wealth for the people and the country.

He said there was the need to develop a concept paper to be incorporated in an overall national development plan to give prominence to science and technology for the creation of wealth.

Mr Boafo made the call at a roundtable conference on Ghana's participation in the Nelson Mandela Institution (NMI) for Advancement of Science and Technology in Sub-Sahara Africa at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi.

The NMI supported by the World Bank, is an initiative of African scientists and professionals. It focuses on the promotion of strong higher education for research, science, engineering and technology in sub-Sahara Africa through the creation of centres of excellence. The conference was to discuss the concept of the proposed initiative, its achievements and to seek and develop ways in which Ghana could be fully involved.

It was also to stimulate more general discussions on the importance of science and technology within the tertiary education system and the context of Africa's development.

The conference further sought to discuss the preparatory work for the future resource mobilisation activities in support of Ghana's component of the initiative.

Representatives from the academia, private sector, scientific and development communities as well as traditional leaders attended the discussions.

Mr Boafo said science and technology provided a critical building block on which a nation's prosperity depended, adding that national goals and priorities could be achieved on an elaborate national planning that depended on science and technology.

He said the Government was prepared to contribute its quota to the Mandela initiative and asked authorities of KNUST to add the cost involved in their budget proposals for government's consideration.

Professor Wole Soboyejo, Chairman of the African Scientific Committee of the NMI, said what was missing in the Africa scientific and technology investments, was lack of an integrated approach between science and technology and marketing.

He called for an effective integrated approach between science and technology as well as marketing to enable Africans realise the full impact of investments in science and technology.

Prof Soboyejo said Ghana played an important role in science and technology and the conference was therefore, to ensure that Ghana played a critical role in the NMI initiative.

He said the institute sought to develop critical Africa thinkers to develop multi-disciplinary approach in innovation, investment and creativity to solve some of the problems facing the continent. Nana Otuo Siribour II, Juabenhene and Chairman of the KNUST Council, said Ghana remained one of the finest centres of excellence in Africa for science and technology education.

He said the conference was therefore Africa's way of offering unqualified apologies to Ghana and requesting her into the family to take up deserved position and lead the way forward.

Nana Siribour said Africa could not fail Mandela and urged Africans to chart the gateway for the partnership of industry and academia for science and technology advancement.

Prof Kwesi Andam, Vice-Chancellor of KNUST, said a time had come for Africans to rekindle themselves and champion a new course to bring about total emancipation on the continent.