Govt urged to expand ICT infrastructure to rural areas.

Members of MOBA at the event

Members of MOBA at the event

Government has been urged to intensify the expansion of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure to rural areas, to empower the people economically.

Dr Kwasi Adu-Baohen Opare, a lecturer at Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), who made the call, noted that the development of science and technology could help solve basic problems of the country.

He was speaking at the third Annual Engagement Series, organised by the Mfantsipim Old Boys Association (MOBA), on the theme: “Harnessing Resources through Science and Technology; The Education and Industry Nexus,”in Accra.

Dr Opare, emphasised the need to train “highly skilled human resources” in science and technology, and observed progress had been made in deploying technology to tackle challenges regarding passport acquisition, port transactions, among others, but there was more to be achieved.

He said “To deal with our challenges, the role of Science and Technology cannot be overemphasised,” adding “we need to raise a generation of innovators to drive science and technology in the country. We need people to create technology, and we need people to use it efficiently”,

While encouraging local technology innovators to commercialise their innovations, Dr Opare called for provision of incentives for students who pursue Science and Technology programmes.

He asked stakeholders to emphasise science and technology education at all levels.

The MOBA Engagement Series was instituted by the association in 2016, to celebrate the 140th anniversary of Mfantsipim School, and speakers at the session sought to proffer possible solutions to challenges in areas including academia, industry, governance and policy and innovation.

Mr Samuel Apenteng, Managing Director at Joissam Ghana Limited, observed, among other factors, that lack of interest in science and technology was the bane of Ghana’s underdevelopment.

He said strategies that could drive industry forward must be identified, as efforts are made to bridge technology gaps.

“People should not come up with policies without idea of how industry works. Industries that adopt technology must be provided with incentives,” Mr Apenteng said.

“There should be heavy funding for research institutions beyond the usual Book and Research allowance. Research institutions should also make science and research funding more visible,” he added.

Mr Apenteng said there was limited support for industry, as government continued to concentrate on taxation.

Touching on governance and policy, Mr Daniel Asenso-Gyambibi, Principal Research Scientist at the Building and Road Research Institute, at the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), said policymakers were “insensitive to the science community,” hence  the “poor link” between government policy and science and technology development in the country.

He noted government’s policy on science and technology development should be aimed at long term results rather than short-term political gains.

Dr Essel Hagan, Adjunct Associate Professor, at the Institute of Distance Learning, KNUST, noted the need for education institutions to provide skills relevant to industry.

By Ernest Nutsugah

 

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