MESTI & OSPA launches National Innovation Challenge


… with US$1m support for final 10 innovative solutions

The maiden National Innovation Challenge (NIC) has been launched to solicit for innovations that have the potential to solve pertinent societal problems affecting the country and are required to enhance economic development.

It also aims at providing the youth with the opportunity to unleash their creativity and compete in innovation by showcasing evidence-based successful solutions and initiatives.

Funded by the World Bank and implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation (MESTI), in collaboration with the Office of the Senior Presidential Advisor (OSPA) under the Public Sector Reforms for Results Project (PSRRP), the challenge looks forward to innovations in areas including renewable energy, agriculture, waste management, oil and gas, manufacturing, public sector processing improvement and the health sector.

The challenge will offer 1,500 Ghanaian innovators between the ages of 15 and 60, an opportunity to pitch their ready-for-market concepts. Successful applicants, who will make up 10 finalists’ inventions or innovations will be supported with funds of maximum US$100,000 each.

The Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie at the launch in Accra described the NIC as a watershed moment and a call to action for the country’s brightest minds to address pressing challenges through innovation.

“This challenge is not just about competition; it is about collaboration. It is about working together, sharing knowledge and expertise, and breaking down the silos that often hinder progress. We encourage partnerships between universities, research institutions, and industry. We want to create an ecosystem where innovation flourishes, and where ideas can be transformed into tangible solutions.

“We will invest in research and development, provide grants and incentives, and reduce bureaucratic hurdles that stifle progress. But it is not just about government support. It is about all of us working together to create an innovation-driven nation,” he added.

Senior Presidential Advisor, Yaw Osafo-Maafo lauded the initiative, emphasising the need for effective collaboration between the frontiers of education, industry, environment and government to build a culture of innovation.

This, he added is crucial to create the value and wealth needed to make the country reformed, efficient, and effective in its development agenda. He said it is vital given the global technologically and scientifically driven environment.

“I believe this programme will purposely develop our attitudes to drive the discourse, frameworks, systems, processes, operations, responses, and approaches, etc. and help to leverage innovation as our way of life-based on science, technology,” he said.

He urged that: “The National Innovation Challenge should not be seen as yet another event. It should be a committed and purposeful vehicle to create a new way of directing energies for building a community of innovators who are not content with the status quo but are driven to seek new and inventive ways to solve our most pressing challenges.

This can be possible if the leadership for its implementation is convinced, resolved, effective, driven, honest, and above all open and accountable for results. This is a project for Ghana not for cronies and, therefore, the entire value-chain processes should be open, transparent, accountable, fair, and above equal opportunity for all to benefit”.

The Chief Director at MESTI, Patrick Nomo said it is expected that the NIC will ensure the commercial success of innovation and stimulate the culture of novelty among students and non-students.

“The government’s overarching objective is to establish a robust and creative framework for national development by placing science, technology and innovation at the fulcrum to drive other sectors of the economy,” he said.

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