Any nation that does not put science and technology at the heart of its development agenda is doomed in the 21st Century, the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MEST), Dr Joe Oteng Adjei, has said.
Dr Oteng Adjei said this yesterday at the opening ceremony of a joint inaugural session of the Second Consultative Committee and 16th Coordinating Council Meeting of the Commission of Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS) in Accra.
The three-day forum, jointly organised by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and MEST, had representatives from its 21-member states in attendance.
It is aimed at giving political support and direction to scientific and technological inventiveness aimed at finding solutions to the numerous developmental challenges of developing countries in the southern hemisphere.
COMSATS, an organisation that began in 1994, was founded with the aim of promoting science and technological research in the less-developed nations of the southern hemisphere as a means of boosting socio-economic development.
“For any nation to succeed in bringing the best quality of life to its people, that nation must make science, technology and innovation key, and serve as the bedrock to catapult the nation to economic development,” Dr Oteng Adjei said.
In a speech read on his behalf, the minister explained that the global trade environment had been dominated by rapidly emerging technologies and processes produced and developed in the north and the far-east was gradually beginning to threaten local enterprises in the south.
“Local enterprises can still be competitive in the global trade environment with enhanced innovation and scientific content in their operations in all areas. In this regard, the south, as a matter of urgency, has to make urgent policy decisions to harness science, technology and innovation,” Dr Oteng Adjei said.
He, therefore, urged the participants to advocate awareness creation on the role of science and technology in addressing development challenges in education, health, energy, agriculture and all the sectors of the economy.
The Chairperson of the COMSATS Consultative Committee, Mr Akhlaq Ahmad Tarar, addressed the lack of finance given to science and technological research in the developing world.
He said out of COMSATS 21-member states, only China and Tunisia spent more than one per cent of their GDP on Research and Development
Mr Tarar added, “It is clear that a paradigm shift is needed to put science and technological research at the core of the development agenda.”
Such a change, he said, was needed in Ghana if the country was going to achieve its desired goals and objectives.
In his welcome address, the Director-General of CSIR, Dr Abdulai B. Salifu, said in its 54 years of existence, the CSIR had creditably discharged its mandate by generating several research findings and technologies which had contributed to the reduction of poverty, enhanced livelihoods in rural communities and promoted socio-economic development in the country.
Source: Daily Graphic
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