The University of Ghana (UG) and the Korea International Co-operation Agency (KOICA), have signed the Agreement for the setting up of the Ghana-Korea Centre of Excellence for ICT-Based Start-Ups and Asian Research (GK-IMPACT).
The historic event which took place on April 26, 2022, at the New Council Chamber at the Registry of the University of Ghana, was graced by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Nana Aba Appiah Amfo; the Korean Ambassador, H.E. Jung Taek-Lim; the Provost of the College of Humanities(COH), Prof. Daniel Ofori; Dr. Lloyd G. Adu Amoah, Director, Centre for Asian Studies(CAS); the Country Director of KOICA, Mr. Moo Heon Kong; the Senior Deputy Country Director, KOICA, Mr. Seungmin Oh and the Deputy Country Director of UNICEF, Mr. Fiachra McAsey.
The Legal Counsel of UG, Prof. Olivia Anku-Tsede, coordinated the signing process while Mrs. Elizier Ameyaw-Buronyah, Director of the Public Affairs Directorate, UG served as compère.
The signing of the agreement is the culmination of a process initiated by CAS that has taken about 5 years and provides UG with a grant of US$9million for the construction of a building that will provide both the software and hardware for Asian and ICT innovation and research.
In her comments, Prof. Amfo intimated that “The GK-IMPACT will certainly provide the opportunity and a stimulating environment for realizing the mandate of CAS as well as making the University of Ghana a hub for building vibrant start-ups in the ICT sector.”
She added as well that the “generous $9million grant will allow the University of Ghana to synchronize two critical areas of interest: Digitalization and Asian Studies. As Vice-Chancellor, my vision is to create a culture that promotes research, teaching and learning, administrative processes and extension activities driven by technology and anchored in humanism.”
In his remarks, the Korean envoy, H.E. Lim stated that “With the immense cooperation, opportunities and mutual economic and trade exchanges growing between Asia and Africa and even more specifically between Korea and Ghana, the Project to Establish the Ghana-Korea Centre of Excellence for ICT-Based Startups and Asian Research (GK-IMPACT) in the University of Ghana provides not only great prospects for the furtherance of growth and cooperation but also strategically places Ghana as a hub for understanding Asia and particularly Korea’s unique and inspiring growth in socio-economic development underpinned by cutting-edge technological advancements and innovation.”
Dr. Amoah, who is the brainchild of the project provided background information on GK-IMPACT and praised the hard work of both the UG and KOICA sides for making the signing possible.
“We had to work non-stop on this including during of all months December. We did not stop even at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak. The teams that pulled this off deserve all the praise.”
Mr. Kong, KOICA Country Director, was happy that KOICA “was playing a role to build an advanced innovation centre that can share Korea’s advanced ICT and development experiences while enhancing Ghana’s research and ICT capabilities to promote growth for both Korea and Ghana.
He added that KOICA through the project intended” to support the development of a cutting-edge environment for ICT and research innovation.”
Mr. McAsey gave the assurance that UNICEF as a key partner of GK-IMPACT will bring to bear on it all the necessary assets of its global networks and its vast experience in ICT matters.
Prof. Ofori found it gratifying that GK-IMPACT was coming on stream at a time when technology was redefining the world of work indicating further that the project could not have come at a better time for faculty and students of UG.
With the signing done, the GK-IMPACT Project will begin in earnest and is expected to be completed by 2026.