Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama on Tuesday launched the annual Ghana
Human Development Report (GHDR), which aims at reviewing the discourse
on science and technology for accelerated national development. The
115- page report to be made available to the public next week is
published by the Institute of Statistics, Social and Economic Research,
of the University of Ghana, Legon, with the support of the United
Nations Development Programme (UNDP) since 1997.
Some of the highlights of the report are the trends and challenges recorded in the country last year, in the area of human development, agriculture, plant medicine, intellectual property rights, science and technology education, information and communication technology.
Alhaji Mahama who responded to criticisms by some of the invited guests about the lack of interest by the State to support the science and technology sector, gave the assurance that, Government was restructuring the economy to give the sector the much desired attention. Government support for science and technology hovers around 0.3 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) despite the 1980 declaration by ECOWAS that made it mandatory for member states to devote at least one per cent of their GDP to the sector.
Alhaji Mahama said the report was consistent with the medium and long- term national development objectives of the Government. Development of science and technology is also of paramount importance to efforts to eradicate poverty and revolutionalised the means of production and other methods of doing business.
The Vice President said Ghana had no problem developing a formidable base for the promotion of science and technology since it could boast of accomplished scientists abroad.
Mr Alfred Salia Fawundu former UNDP Resident representative said since the first National Human Development Report (NHDP) was published in Bangladesh in 1992, some 135 countries have shown interest leading to the publication of over 350 of such reports. " Whereas a good number of NHDR's have achieved impressive results in terms of the quality of their analysis and the relevance of their recommendations, a significant number have fallen short of a desirable standards."
Mr Fawundu said Ghana's Human Development Index (HDI) between 1980 and last year rose from a value of 0.473 to 0.556 leading to the dropping of the country from the 133rd position on the HDI ladder to the 129th position.
Professor Akilakpa Sawyerr, Editor of the GHDP report said research indicated that the low human development index of Ghana has given rise to the decline in real wages, productivity and an increase in child labour. He said sustainable food production was also threatened by inadequate natural resource management practices whilst small-scale farmers have little access to the benefits of science due to ignorance and the relatively high costs involved.
Prof. Sawyerr expressed dissatisfaction about the number of girls pursuing science and the general lack of facilities to promote teaching and learning of the subject.
Prof. Christopher Ameyaw-Ekumfi, Minister of Ports, Harbours and Railways, who chaired the function, expressed government's commitment to focus on the provision of science equipment to promote interest in the subject especially at the basic level.
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