The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says the national development agenda will be anchored on science, technology and innovation.
The President, therefore, called on all to support his development vision, stressing, “we can realise this Ghana, the Ghana of our dream, if we join hands to work together and use all the blessings bestowed on us by the almighty God to make a positive difference in the lives of the Ghanaian people.”
President Akufo-Addo was addressing the opening session of a conference for Ghanaian scientists, technologists, engineers and innovators at Peduase, near Aburi in the Eastern Region yesterday.
The one-day conference was organised by the Ghana Institution of Engineering in collaboration with the MESTI, with support from Mastercard Foundation, an international philanthropic organisation.
The President reiterated that his vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid was to build a strong and robust economy, capable of generating a dignified prosperous existence for the people banishing the spectre of poverty and making Ghana self-reliant and less dependent on foreign capital technology and influence.
President Akufo-Addo said “the time has come for us to take Ghana to where she deserves to be as a prosperous and dynamic member of the world community by bridging the technology gap and moving Ghana to a situation beyond aid.
He said “the youth of the country are already demonstrating great aptitude in their mastery of the new digital technology and my job is to encourage them and provide them as much assistance as the limited means a government can marshal.”
The President said the government had initiated a seven-pillar science and technology framework to place science, technology and innovation at the centre of the country’s development agenda.
Those, he explained, included the setting up of a Presidential Advisory Council on science, technology and innovation composed of eminent Ghanaian scientists, the funding for research and development on science, technology and innovation, which he said must be raised to a significant level from the current negligible status and free senior high school policy which was aimed at widening access to secondary education for all the young people of the country.
The President said a legislation to back the framework was being drafted as the science, technology and innovation bill to facilitate the implementation of the policy.
The government will set up an advanced computerised machine tool centre in Accra and Kumasi to manufacture tools, equipment and other instruments to support key sectors of the economy such as agriculture and manufacturing.
President Akufo-Addo, who announced this yesterday, said the centre would be equipped with advanced computers for designing and shaping the tools and machine parts for accuracy and good finishing.
The initiative, according to the President, was to help accelerate industrialisation, solve the problem of unemployment and help generate wealth that would stay in the economy.
It was also premised on the conviction that a country that could not manufacture its own tools and machine parts was not ready to industrialise.
He said the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) was collaborating with the Ministry of Education to pursue the MESTI’s focus on making available strategic technologies and centres of excellence.
President Akufo-Addo said 61 years after independence the country continued to import equipment, machine parts and even the human capital to man them.
Consequently, he said, “the manufacturing base that is needed to create the thousands of jobs needed for our youth and help raise the living standards of our people is weak.
He, however, expressed the hope that “when all the policies and actions outlined are fully implemented, we will begin to see clearly the contours of a Ghana Beyond Aid.”
“We have not developed well enough our abilities to find domestic solutions to our problems and we continue to live on the habit of seeking solutions from outside sources most of the time with products made from the exploitation of our natural resources,” the President said.
He noted that the country could no longer continue to make policies on the basis of donor support, saying that system had not worked and would not work.
The convenor of the conference, Mr Kwame Pianim, called for support for the government’s vision of ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ since it provided the current generation with a call towards building and securing economic independence for the country.
The President of the Ghana Institution of Engineering, Mr Steve Amoaning-Yankson, stressed the need for the country to analyse the technology journey of the country since independence and chart a new path forward.