Innovation and African Development Conference Opens in Accra, Ghana

On November 3rd 2014, the Innovation and African Development Conference hosted by TMCD and the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (CSIR-STEPRI) took place at the CSIR-STEPRI Auditorium, Accra.

The conference brought together nearly 100 participants including policy makers, academics, and practitioners from across the world to present research findings of the Diffusion of Innovation in Low Income Countries (DILIC) Project, particularly a survey report with the main findings from an innovation survey of more than 500 formal and informal firms in Ghana.

At the conference, Mr Akwasi Oppong Fosu, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation called on African governments to ‘take innovation seriously and work to track innovation performances in their countries’, and also urged the Ghanaian government to ‘continue to track progress in innovation across the economic sectors and more importantly, analyse the constraint and issues that needed to be addressed to enhance innovation in the country’. He hoped that ‘the research activities of the DILIC Project would be mainstreamed into national programmes after the three-year lifespan’.

Professor Xiaolan Fu, Founding Director of TMCD, stressed that innovation was a major driver for long-term economic growth. She said African countries underperformed most European countries in terms of innovation. She presented the DILIC Survey Report with the key findings from firms in a variety of sectors. She said that ‘the most firms in Ghana innovate to survive in business, and also to improve quality of goods and services as well as to increase range of services’. She expected to repeat the research in two years’ time and make efforts to enter more countries. Meanwhile, she wished the DILIC research and inputs by participants at the conference would inspire initiators who were using Ghana as a case study for other developing countries.

Dr George Essegbey, Director of STEPRI, emphasised the importance of innovation to Ghana’s economy and society. He expressed the hope that new paths for innovation studies in Africa would be built up with the help of the participants so as to reduce poverty and increase the country’s competitiveness. Additionally, he introduced the audience the following training course on November 4th and 5th, which would provide the state-of-the-art knowledge on the determinants and impact of technology transfer in and to the low income countries, including insights on designing and administrating innovation surveys.

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