Research-driven PPPs will catapult our fortunes under AfCFTA – CSIR-IIR

Participants at the maiden Annual Research and Industrial Meetings

The Director, Institute of Industrial Research, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-IIR), Dr. Francis Boateng Agyenim, has underscored the pivotal role of research-driven public-private partnerships (PPPs) in the country’s quest of seize opportunities under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Given the similarities in most African economies, he explained that by leveraging research-driven PPPs, Ghana will be in a position to not only understand the benefits of AfCFTA but also what it needs to do to fully take advantage of them.

“We do not understand each other when it comes to public and private and neither are investing in research as we should,” Dr. Agyenim, who spoke at the Institute’s maiden Annual Research and Industrial Meetings in Accra said, adding that in this era of AfCFTA, research becomes the compass guiding strategic decisions.

“We are taking advantage of this [ the Institute’s maiden Annual Research and Industrial Meetings] to bring public and private players together to sit in the same room for two years to learn from each other. Following that, we would now have a private sector that we have supported to go regional, producing various products,” he said.

He added: “This is the kind of partnership that we’re looking for to ensure that the private sector takes advantage of the continental free trade area. This is the key to our success here, considering the advantages we have. We have what we call an Industrial Innovation Hub sitting at the CSIR Institute of Industrial Research, where we encourage private companies to have either seats or offices. We become the first point of call when it comes to research and development”.

Dr. Agyenim’s comments come at a time where Ghana, a key participant and host of the AfCFTA initiative, stands at the crossroads of economic transformation.

The event was themed ‘Leveraging Research for Public-Private Partnership for National Development’.

Encouraging businesses to take advantage of the research being conducted at the institute, Dr. Agyenim stressed that the country’s ability to harness the vast opportunities presented by this continental trade agreement hinges on robust research initiatives and effective collaboration between the public and private sectors.

“We encourage businesses to come so that we can support any product you are developing. This includes research, product development, and quality assurance, enabling you to sell regionally. Additionally, we offer capacity building and training for your staff,” he said.

The CSIR, known for its commitment to advancing scientific research and innovation, is poised to play a central role in facilitating these research-driven collaborations.

By fostering an environment where researchers and businesses can collaborate seamlessly, the CSIR aims to contribute to the development of strategies that enhance Ghana’s competitiveness within the AfCFTA framework.

Industry leaders and experts have welcomed Dr. Agyenim’s perspective, acknowledging that research-driven PPPs are a cornerstone for sustainable economic growth under AfCFTA.

Speaking to B&FT on the side-lines of the event, the Chief Executive Officer of African Energy Consortium Limited, Kwame Jantuah, said the call to action is clear – businesses, research institutions, and policymakers must unite to create a conducive environment that nurtures innovation and research excellence.

“But the key thing is to get the right investment in place for these things to happen,” he said.

And this, he said, could only happen through enhanced collaboration between the CSIR and the private sector, showcasing the transformative power of aligning research with economic policies for regional and continental success.

He also urged the management of the CSIR to be proactive in communicating their research to businesses in order to bring about the desired partnerships for the greater good of the country.

“The CSIR should twin with NDPC, twin with AGI, and twin with the Business Commerce Association so that they get to know what CSIR is doing. With the ACFTA, we can now take a lot of those things into Africa. By doing so, they create investment for themselves, and they create financing for themselves,” he stated.

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