Science, technology, innovation to accelerate development — Dr Kwaku Afriyie

BY: Timothy Ngnenbe
Dr Kwaku Afriyie — Minister Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation
Dr Kwaku Afriyie — Minister Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation

The Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) is working towards mainstreaming science, technology and innovation (STI) in all sectors of the economy to facilitate the development of the country.

"The target is that by the next 10 years, every Ghanaian will be thinking science and every initiative on national development will be driven by science and technology," the sector Minister, Dr Kwaku Afriyie, has said.

He said this when he took his turn at the Minister's press briefing series in Accra yesterday, a platform created by the Ministry of Information for various sector ministers to engage the public on their activities, in line with their mandate.

Significance

Dr Afriyie said the ultimate goal of the government for the next 10 years was to make STI the fulcrum around which all development initiatives would revolve.

He said, for instance, that in the educational sector, the government had prioritised research as a facilitator of development, for which reason about one per cent of Ghana’s gross domestic product (GDP) had been dedicated to the National Research Fund.

He added that the ministry was focused on promoting the commercialisation of research and also supporting the development of infrastructure for research and innovation.

According to the minister, there was also a collaboration between MESTI and the Ministry of Education (MoE) to revise the school curriculum to strengthen science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

Such a collaboration would culminate in the provision of classroom blocks, hostel facilities, mechanical workshops and other infrastructure to support skills training and innovation, he said.

In the agricultural sector, Dr Afriyie said, his outfit, through the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), would continue to play a key role in the government's agricultural transformation initiative, dubbed: Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) and Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD).

According to him, the CSIR provided about 95 per cent of cereals and legumes for the PFJ programme.

Additionally, a digital agricultural innovation hub had also been implemented, in collaboration with MoFA, leading to the creation of greenhouses in specific locations across the country, he added.

Energy sector

In the energy sector, the minister said processes were ongoing to implement a nuclear power for reliable energy project to increase access to energy for socio-economic development.

He said three new seismic equipment had been installed at some sites which were currently transmitting data to the geological survey data centre.

He said a request for interest (RFI) issued by the government, through the Ministry of Energy, had received interest from five vendor countries, including the US, Canada, Russia and South Korea.

Dr Afriyie further outlined a number of initiatives being undertaken to reduce environmental pollution and build climate resilience to include international and regional commitments, such as the Paris Agreement, the Global Plastic Action Partnership (GPAP) and the African Circular Economy Alliance.

He also said the ministry was overseeing the implementation of interventions, such as the national plastic management policy and implementation plan, the Hazardous and Electronic Waste Control and Management Act, 2016 (Act 917) for the collection of eco-levy and the piloting of circular economy for plastics within the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA).