The announcement to triple government’s investment in science research from 0.3% to 1% has been described as inadequate.
Alliance for Science Ghana; a network of scientists, farmers, students and other professionals says though they are glad government has seen the need to raise funding for scientific research, they are not impressed with the 1% being allotted for the purpose.
Please read their press statement below:
31st May, 2019
PRESS RELEASE: GOVERNMENT’S MOVE TO INCREASE INVESTMENT IN SCIENCE TO 1% NOT AMBITIOUS
We are excited to read that government has decided to triple investment in science research from the existing 0.3% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to 1%, as announced by Senior Minister Osafo Maafo. https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Cabinet-approves-doubling-of-funding-to-Scientific-Research-Osafo-Maafo-747663
We are glad that government has recognized the direct correlation between development and investment in science. This was the central theme of our recent MARCH FOR SCIENCE event in Tamale during which hundreds of science loving people stepped out onto the streets to demand that government increases investment in science research to at least 5% of GDP. https://www.ghanabusinessnews.com/2019/05/08/stakeholders-walk-to-demand-investment-in-scientific-research/. We are excited to see that someone is at least paying attention.
But more needs to be done. The African Union recommends that its members endeavor to invest at least 1% of its GDP in science. This appears to be what government is aiming at. However, the United Nations recommends that countries invest at least 3.5% of GDP in science research. But we think that is not far reaching enough. Ghana, with all the challenges we face should aim at investing at least 5% of GDP in science research if we are serious about transforming the country. The current 0.3% is appalling and the targeted 1% is not ambitious. Government should be bold enough to aim at the 5% mark.
Our country has made substantial progress in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but up to 10% Ghanaians are still living in extreme poverty. In Northern Ghana, up to 30% of children under five years are stunted or chronically malnourished. Our cities are flooding annually leading to deaths and destruction of properties. These challenges can only be tackled effectively if we prioritise science and technology as Singapore, Rwanda, China and several other countries have done. No government policy including ‘Ghana Beyond Aid” will succeed without science.
But more importantly, with regards to the current pledge, government should walk-the-talk and not just go back to sleep after the senior minister’s announcement. It is good to know that cabinet has given approval for the increase but the processes to get parliamentary approval for this policy should be accelerated so our scientists can get to work. It is sad that the CSIR continues to rely almost solely on donor funding for research. We want to see more action and less talk.
By Reuben Quainoo (0240763318)
Executive member, Alliance for Science (AfS) Ghana
AfS Ghana is a network of scientists, farmers, students and other professionals working to promote science in all spheres of national development. We advocate for the application of science based evidence in national policy formulation, educate the public on importance of science, encourage students to pursue careers in science and support initiatives to
commercialise outcomes of studies by scientific research institutions.
What do you think about this piece? Share your comment in the comment thread and share the story using the social media buttons above. You may reach the editor on 0249579664. Thank you.