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30.09.2005 General News

Ghana to forge partnership for effective utilization of S&T in Africa

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By Linda Asante Agyei, GNA Special Correspondent, Dakar, Senegal Courtesy: Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA)

Dakar, Sept. 30, GNA - Ms Christine Churcher, Minister of Environment and Science, on Friday said Ghana was resolved to forge effective partnerships with member States to create, adopt, diffuse and utilise scientific and technological knowledge in order to raise the standard of living of the population.

She said there was no need for Africans to allow globalisation and all its tentacles to continue to marginalize them.

"We believe we are endowed with natural and human resources which when properly harnessed would enable us to progress together, a progress that will render the generations after us stand on comparatively equal footing with their partners in the North," Mrs Churcher said. Speaking at the Second Africa Ministerial Conference on Science and Technology in Dakar, the Minister said Ghana regarded the establishment of the Council of Ministers of Science and Technology as the policy-making and governance body in the framework of NEPAD as a forward-looking paradigm shift in Africa's forward march for development.

Ms Churcher said though Ghana and other African countries had S&T policies, "their implementation was nothing that we could boast of. Under-funding and dwindling budgets and non-implementation of the Lagos Plan of Action to increase public expenditure on Research and Development (R&D) to at least one per cent of our GDP per annum are challenges that confront us".

She noted that adequate and regular funding would facilitate the implementation of the programmes for Africa to realize the laudable goals set for it.

Mrs Churcher urged member-states to commit themselves to the implementation of the flagship programmes of R&D and to employ them to exploit and manage the natural resources in a way that would not compromise the integrity of the already fragile environment. Professor Turner T. Isoun, Nigeria's Science and Technology Minister, presenting his country's statement called on Africans not to re-invent the wheels, but rather concentrate on research areas of comparative advantage such as research in bio-resources to cater for the population.

He urged countries to redesign strategies that would include and engage the private sector and place mechanisms for raising, coordinating, allotting and managing financial resources for activities with objectivity, responsibility and transparency. "It is an obvious fact that science, technology and innovation systems serve as the engine for modern enterprise and national development.

"It is my hope and belief that this consolidated Action Plan for Science and Technology would assist to lay a solid foundation for a productive role for S&T and innovation systems in Africa and ensure productive economy for improved quality of life for our people." 30 Sept. 05