The Ghana Institution of Engineering (GhIE) is to establish technology design and manufacturing centres (TDMCs) across the country to support research institutions, universities and industry to bridge technology gap in the country through the deployment and active use of technology.
To be rolled out within this year, the centres, which are estimated to cost US$1 million in its initial stages, would also train and mentor engineering practitioners and technicians including facilitating their smooth transition to productive industry practice.
The initiative, which is in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) and Ghanaian practitioners in the science, technology and innovation (STI) space in Ghana and abroad, was one of the action plans of the GhIE towards bridging the technology gap.
Dr Kwame Boakye, former President of GhIE, who made this known, was speaking yesterday in Accra at the GhIE’s conference on bridging the technology gap towards ‘Ghana Beyond Aid and youth employment.
The conference was to engage science, technology and innovation practitioners as well as the media on ways to realise the six action plans including procurement and use of technologies, education and training, financing technology development and innovation and among others, identified by the GhIE to bridge the technology gap in the country during its annual conference held in January this year.
According to Dr Boakye, the TDMCs would serve as a repository for reports on research conducted in the country and house a database on Ghanaian engineers, technologists and scientists worldwide and their area of expertise.
It would further provide opportunities for the commercialisation of inventions and innovations into viable products, serve as a centre for improving the skills of engineering practitioners as well as promote and protect intellectual property and parenting of Ghanaian innovation, he stated.
Additionally, he indicated that the centres would be used for engineering analysis and serve as a place for design-for-manufacturing assembly as well as a ‘learning factory’ where practice, education and research were integrated to foster the development of competencies of trainees.
Already, a working committee for the TDMS, he said, have been established to raise the needed funds and draw-up plans to enable the take off of the initiative.
In the meantime, Dr Boakye called for the development of a strong and effective STI ecosystem that would facilitate the commercialisation of inventions and innovations by practitioners.
This, he said, would strengthen local industries, create employments and ensure that inventors and innovators benefit from their works.
Minister, MESTI, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, stated that government was focused on creating the enabling environment for researchers to find solutions to the country’s problems, establish industries, create employment and promote the growth of the country.
Dr Lucy Agyepong, Technology Manager, Designing and Build Group, Manufacturing Technology Centre, United Kingdom, reiterated the need for a technology and manufacturing centre in the country to provide an environment for development and demonstration of new technologies from small scale to industrial scale and enable Ghanaian small businesses to increase productivity.
In addition to increasing production rates across industries and equipping small businesses to compete on a global scale, a technology and manufacturing centre, she said, would enable companies to modernise and adopt cost effective solutions to their manufacturing challenges.
As a developing country, Dr Joseph Odartey Cruickshank, retired mechanical engineer with General Electric, said it was time for Ghana to take advantage of global technological advancement to build its own technologies to facilitate economic growth and development.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS