Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, one of Africa’s renowned scientists, has underscored the need for the continent “to be determined, aggressive, ambitious and passionate about her affairs”.
“As a people, we should not be afraid of breaking new ground. The world may want to intimidate us; that we are so far behind, that we cannot catch up.
“No! We don’t have to run after them. However, we can learn from the achievements and mistakes of others whilst charting our path and preserving our cultural heritage and our time-tested value systems,” he said.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng, in a speech delivered at the investiture of Prof. Mark Appiah as President of the CSIR College of Science and Technology (CCST), at a ceremony at Fumesua near Kumasi, indicated that “Africa’s poverty gap was a technological gap.”
“We all have to understand that the real difference between the developed countries of America, Europe, Asia, and the Far East and the underdeveloped countries of Africa lies in their technological capability,” he stressed.
According to the scientist, who is Ghana’s Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation: “The economy of our modern world is knowledge-based and science and technology-driven.”
Consequently, clean, affordable and safe energy, agriculture, medicine and health, clean air and water, transportation, sanitation, management, utilization and conservation of natural resources are all propelled by science and technology.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said it had become obvious that to be a part of that world, there must be science and technology elements in the development processes of countries on the continent.
“Africa’s contribution to world trade is one percent and 25 of the world’s bottom poor countries are in Africa,” he noted, adding that the continent’s development depended on her ability to understand, interpret, select, adapt, use, transmit, diffuse, produce and commercialize scientific and technological knowledge.
This must be done in ways appropriate to the continent’s culture, aspirations, and level of development.
The Minister quoting data from the World Health Organization (WHO), said it was estimated that 300 to 500 million Africans were infected with malaria each year, causing 1.5 to 2.7 million deaths.
More than 90 percent of these deaths occur in children under five years of age.
“This means that in Africa, a child dies every 45 seconds of malaria,” Prof. Frimpong-Boateng stated.
These development challenges, he said, could be addressed through the permeation of science and technology into the life of nations on the continent.
This is the way to go to also overcome other development challenges endemic in the society – mass poverty and illiteracy, sexually-transmitted diseases, food insecurity, HIV/AIDS, environmental and sanitation challenges
The programme coincided with the maiden congregation of CCST, and in all, 20 students graduated with Masters of Philosophy in various fields, including climate change and integrated resource management, food science and technology, plant breeding and biotechnology.