Confab on digital, social innovations ends in Accra

A section of the participants at the conference

A section of the participants at the conference

A two-day conference aimed at leveraging on digital and social innovations to enhance development has been held in Accra.

Dubbed, “re:publica”, the event, attended by about 1,000 Ghanaian and international participants was on the theme, “Next Level.”

Organised by re:publica GmBH, Impact Hub Accra and the German Federal  Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), it was the first time the conference was held in Africa.

Topics discussed included health innovation, content creation, maker technologies and digital rights issues with over 100 sessions and speakers from about 22 African countries including 80 from Ghana.

Opening the event last Friday, Advisor to the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Olivier Boachie, said, the choice of Ghana as host of the conference was in recognition of the country’s efforts to use technology in addressing developmental challenges including waste and public service delivery.

“We are proud to have been chosen as the host of the digital and social conference which is being held outside of Europe for the first time. It is a testimony to the country’s vibrancy in terms of science and technology. The recognition would serve as a catalyst to lift Ghana to leverage on science and technology to further our development,” he stated.

As a Ministry, he said the conference provides the platform to discuss the importance of the e-waste programme being implemented by MESTI and the German Development Cooperation with the aim of improving the conditions for sustainable management and disposal of electronic waste in the country.

During the session, diverse groups of stakeholders with experience in the Agbogbloshie waste site, urban mining and anthropology would provide impulses about how the country could turn the challenges related to recycling activities in the informal sector into potentials for social development and innovation, Mr Boachie stated.

German Ambassador to Ghana Christoph Retzlaff, said, Ghana’s hosting of the conference was long overdue to the abundance of creativity and innovation amongst the citizenry.

Unfortunately, such creative and innovative ideas, he said, have received limited exposure with a consequential limited impact in driving change and offering solutions to societal challenges.

To this end, the Ambassador urged for effective partnerships that ensures maximum impact was realised.

“Let use this opportunity to strengthen partnerships, connect, build networks, come up with ideas and make our societies safe and better for ourselves. The future of our continents can be changed if we work together and use such platforms to pursue good initiatives,” he added.

Mr. Andreas Gebhard, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of re:publica GmbH, said the conference aimed to create space for dialogue and exchange between the digital society including bloggers, hackers, social entrepreneurs, social media users, among others.

An executive of Impact Hub Ghana, Will Senyo, said the conference provided the platform for the participants “to dream about the possibilities of the future and work towards achieving it with the support of other partners.”

By Claude Nyarko Adams

 

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