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Let technology, innovation drive policies — Researcher

BY: Elizabeth Nyaadu Adu
Dr Frederick Amu-Mensah (arrowed), National Chapter Coordinator, ATPS, with participants in the meeting

A Research Fellow at the African Technology Policy Studies (ATPS), Joel Nwuankaire, has urged institutions to use science, technology and innovations (STI) to drive policies for sustainable development.

That, he said, would not only help in creating more jobs for the youth, especially, but reduce poverty and contribute to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.

Mr Nwuankaire made the call at a focus group discussion meeting organised by the African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS) in Accra on November 16.

“Africa has a lot of policies at the institutional, sectorial and national level, however, most of these policies are just pushed out without being driven, causing unemployment and security issues all over,” he said.

The meeting was to hold a discussion on the Understanding the STI Policy and Institutional Landscape for Technological Innovation Development in Africa to Enhance Youth Employability, Entrepreneurship and Job Creation (UPTIER) project.

The project aims to map out institutions responsible for STI, understand the roles, linkages, powers and influences in the promotion of STI development for technological innovations, skills development for employability, job creation and entrepreneurship in eight selected sub-saharan African countries.

The selected countries are Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

The meeting assembled representatives from research institutes, academia, private sector and government agencies to review and analyse the STI policies in their various institutions and gather data to be used to inform policy changes that support the development and sustainability of STI in Africa.

Lack of coordination

For her part, the Director of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research(CSIR) - Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI), Dr Wilhelmina Quaye, explained that lack of coordination was a challenge to the implementation of STI policies in Ghana.

“As a country, our policies go through extensive consultation process and we do very well with our policies. However, they do not work because what to get the process to flow is not available.

“There are no implementation plans and institutions are often not well resourced financially to implement their policies,” she said.

She added that “as a country, if we don’t have the finances to fund our own developmental plans, we end up going for support from donors or development partners, therefore, coordination becomes an issue”

Economic growth

The National Chapter Coordinator for ATPS, Dr Frederick Amu Mensah, explained that for sustainable development, economic growth and security in the country our STI policies must be implemented.

He said the data gathered from the discussions would be used to inform policy changes that support the development and sustainability of STI in Africa.