Since it has been established that less than 1% of the country’s GDP is spent on research, the launching of an endowment fund by President Akufo-Addo for the University of Ghana this week is remarkable.
It coincided with the 70th anniversary celebrations of the university, and in an address the president observed that the fund is meant to enhance research and teaching at the country’s foremost university.
With the launch of the US$100million endowment fund, the president indicated that it represents government’s resolve to assist the university become research-intensive, so that its findings will actually assist national development as pertains in the more developed jurisdictions of the world.
The president also indicated that the endowment fund is a fulfillment of his party manifesto, and that it is the fulcrum around which most world-class universities operate.
A World Bank report in 2015 stated that Ghana pumped 0.38% of its GDP into research consistently every year since 2007. South Africa is Africa’s highest spender on research, investing 0.76% of its GDP annually.
“If countries wish to break the poverty cycle … they will have to set up ambitious national minimum target investments for science and technology,” the report said. The targetted spending for research and experimental development of African countries is 1% of GDP, as endorsed and decided by the African Union’s Executive Council in 2006.
Only Malawi, Uganda and South Africa spend above 1% of their GDP on R&D, whereas the remaining 16 countries in the 19-country survey carried out in 2010 spend only between .2% – .48%.
Thus, empowering tertiary institutions to enhance their research capabilities is the way to go, and it is plositive that the University of Ghana – which occupies a place of pride in the country’s history, is being provided with funds to boost its research capabilities.
The University of Ghana continues to churn out quality manpower resources which have brought the country so much esteem that it has become a centre of excellence. It is therefore a source of great fulfillment that the endowment fund has been established in the university’s 70th anniversary.