Various players in academia who took part in the 12th Annual International Applied Research and Technology Fair at the Koforidua Technical University have indicated that the only way the country can overcome the current economic hardships is for academia, the private sector, and government to effectively collaborate for the greater good of the masses.
According to the over 100 participants, conducting innovative research and coming up with good proposals for discussion and implementation would help the country to overcome its economic challenges, especially in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The three-day conference, which brought together about 100 participants from academia and industry with a shared interest in applied sciences, was designed to provide a platform to discuss research findings, practitioners’ presentations, and dialogue on proposals on important developmental and economic issues.
The objective of the conference was also to build effective collaboration between academia, industry, and other research institutions, as well as to provide businesses with an opportunity to exhibit their products and services and create investment opportunities.
Addressing the participants during the opening ceremony, the Vice-Chancellor of the Koforidua Technical University, Professor David Kofi Essumang, indicated that lack of collaboration among key stakeholders has been one of the country’s major problems.
“From the historically high unemployment rates, particularly for young workers, to the problems of exclusion and increasing inequality, persistent poverty in rural areas, and unacceptable working conditions in the informal sector, overcoming these challenges requires fresh thinking to elaborate innovative policy proposals that could provide practical assistance to help solve the real problems facing people,” he said. “Tertiary institutions need to collaborate to conduct research to solve these problems.”
“The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic linger on, and the pandemic posed a considerable challenge to achieving the SDGs. Researching into efficient SDG strategies is therefore urgently required to support the recovery process and strengthen comprehensive SDG actions. Tertiary institutions in this country must enhance their outreach and join forces with industry to conduct research into the country’s challenges and come up with innovative ideas that could be implemented to help solve the challenges.”
Speaking on the theme “Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Post-COVID Era: The Role of Research, Innovation, and Technology Transfer,” the Acting Director for the Development Coordination Division of the National Development Planning Committee (NDPA), Dr. Winfred Nelson, revealed that adequate financing and resource mobilization are needed to invest in achieving the SDGs.
“Resource mobilization over the years has been challenging, as 40 percent of the budget needed to finance the achievement of the SDGs came from development partners. Forty-three billion cedis is needed annually to implement various policies and programs to achieve the SDGs. 2030 is not too far away, seven years from now. Therefore, there is a need to leverage how to get financing for our projects. Alternative innovative financing, including green financing, and encouraging the private sector to come on board is being considered to acquire funding to implement programs and policies to help achieve the SDGs.”
The Chairman of the conference, the Municipal Chief Executive of the New Juaben South Constituency, Mr. Isaac Appaw-Gyasi, indicated that the government remains committed to working with the private sector to achieve results.
“Even though COVID-19 has had negative effects on achieving the SDGs, the government implemented policies such as the digitization drive to move the country into a more digitized and cashless economy. Research, innovation, and technology, if harnessed, would position the country to accelerate its efforts to achieving the SDGs. The government will continue to explore new measures to meet goals in order to fulfill the needs of the present generation without compromising future ones.”