The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, has announced that government has pledged a minimum of one percent of Gross Domestic product (GDP) towards the promotion of research and development expenditure of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in the country.
He said in many advanced countries, conservative estimates have it that the direct and indirect contribution of mathematical and physical sciences to the economy is about 25% therefore, if Ghana does not show strong commitment to mathematics and science, it will not be possible for the country to translate scientific developments into economic gains.
Currently, projections by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) indicate that Ghana’s GDP could increase up to 6.8% for the year 2018.
Professor Boateng also announced that a national Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) fund will be established to support the development of the nation’s STI system.
He said the framework for the STI programme will be backed by legislation to ensure continuity from one administration to the next adding that legislation is being drafted for the Research and Development (R&D) fund as well.
He noted that the fund will be established as an autonomous body with oversight from his Ministry. This, he said, will ensure that there is statutory backing for the initiatives and continued implementation even when there is a change in government.
The Minister said that: “President Akufo-Addo has decided to form an advisory council for science and technology and members of this council will be made up of scientists, technologists and industrialists with deep knowledge and experience. They are expected to provide timely and confidential evidence-based advice on STI policy issues to the President to advance the contributions of STI to Ghana’s economic development.”
He said STEM education will be instituted and promoted throughout the educational structure of the nation’s economy. He added that his Ministry and the Ministry of Education attach extreme importance to the teaching of STEM at all levels of the nation’s educational system.
“Government believes that our development depends on our ability to understand, interpret, adapt and commercialise scientific and technological knowledge in ways appropriate to our culture, aspirations and level of development”, he added.
Professor Boateng made these statements at the maiden edition of this year’s Africa Science Week organised by the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) in Accra under the theme: “Accelerating Growth and Development through STEM.”
The celebrations were held in over 34 African countries including Ghana, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Rwanda South Africa, Tanzania, Sudan among others.
The maiden Ghana celebrations was powered by Upendi PR (www.upendipr.com), a leading PR and Communications firm providing total communication solutions to businesses and individuals across Africa.
Also, there was an Open Science Day in Kumasi, featuring exhibition of local innovations, a panel discussion, and hands-on practical science activities in a local school on 27th September.
The Ghana STEM conference provided opportunities for conversations and exhibitions of the latest innovations and researches that are transforming lives across the continent.