2nd African Light Source Confab opens in Accra

Prof. Frimpong Boateng (second from left) in a chat with Prof Sir Tom Blundell (second from right) from UK.With them include Ms Ozlem Ergun Ulueren,(right)

Prof. Frimpong Boateng (second from left) in a chat with Prof Sir Tom Blundell (second from right) from UK.With them include Ms Ozlem Ergun Ulueren,(right)

More than 300 participants from the African continent and from the diaspora have converged on the University of Ghana in Accra to deliberate on the vision and map out strategy towards the building of the first advanced light source facility in Africa.

The 2nd African Light Source and Pan-African conference will also review the light source base science on the continent.

Topics to be discussed include geosciences, environmental sciences, nano sciences, and material sciences.

The University of Ghana, the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) and the international collaborators are jointly organising the conference on the theme, “Crystallography: a tool for sustainable development in Africa.”

Opening the conference, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, said both Crystallography and Advanced light sources were unique and powerful tools for scientific investigations into new materials and living matter.

He expressed the hope that the outcome of the conference would contribute immensely in advancing the course of science for Africa.

Prof. Boateng was hopeful that with the right political will from African governments, “we should be able to do it, considering the benefits.”

He said that such the multifaceted research facility had benefits in agriculture, health, energy, mining, drugs discovery, engineering adding, “I am particularly informed of the progress such facilities are making towards being used in the fight against diseases.”

Prof. Boateng said science and technology had played a catalytic role in the rapid advancement in industrialised countries, saying that the fact could not be lost on Africans to pursue a transformative agenda to propel its citizens from abject poverty.

He said weak research linkages have been cited as one of the flaws that had largely impaired the capacity of research and development institutions to respond effectively to the needs of the industry.

The Minister said it was against the background that the government was considering the review of the national budgetary allocation to science and technology research from the current 0.05 per cent to one per cent of GDP consistent with requirements of the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP).

He pledged the support of the installation of the first Advanced light source, possibly in Ghana as a step to build a future light source to provide state-of-the-art tools for learning.

Crystallography is the science that examines the arrangement of atoms in solids and has a close connection with advanced light sources which are more intense than conventional sources such as light bulbs and traditional lasers.

Advanced light sources are key to research frontiers in many disciplines and industries.

BY LAWRENCE MARKWEI

 

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