1. Ghana Herbal Pharmacopoeia: 3rd Edition
Ghana has a rich natural resource in her plant heritage. In all the agro-ecological zones: forests, costal and Northern savanna-plants of a huge diversity abound. It is a wide range of plant species in the country. Many of these plants are medicinal plants and developed therapies on their basis. The use of these herbal therapies and associated procedures for healing in the traditional systems are what come together in traditional herbal medicine.
While the traditional herbal system is still useful in modern health care delivery systems, there are challenges that need to be addressed to enhance potency and efficacy. The fundamentals for addressing these challenges are Science, Technology and Innovation(STI). The application of STI cuts across all the components of the value chain for effective transformation of the traditional herbal medicine. Scientists and all types of researchers have an onerous responsibility to ensure scientific impact on traditional herbal medicine. It is in this regard that this Ghana Herbal Pharmacopeia has been published.
At the center of the traditional herbal medicine is the Traditional Medicine Practitioners (TMP). It is his or her knowledge that brings about health care delivery in the localities where they operate. More importantly, the innovations the TMP adopts or develops are what brings improvement in traditional herbal practice. The new herbal extractions that are discovered to heal certain diseases, the use of new and improved equipment and machinery, the packaging of products reflecting ingenuity and innovations and the new approaches to marketing and branding, are all different forms of innovations which add value to the existing traditional herbal practices. However, some of these innovative actions are facilitated by sources of good knowledge.
A pharmacopoeia is an important source of scientific knowledge. Prepared in a manner of this Ghana Herbal Pharmacopoeia, it is a wealth of knowledge that can be foundation of a whole industry. The new edition of the Ghana Herbal Pharmacopoeia approaches the practice of traditional herbal medicine from modern perspective where the philosophy of science is rooted in proof of concept. Therefore, in each of the monographs included in this publication, there has been further laboratory testing and proving of the potency of the active ingredients. It gives further credence to the practice of traditional herbal medicine and it enhances trust. However, the challenge is getting the TMPs to use the book with understanding and a commitment to excellence. It means that beyond publishing the pharmacopoeia, there will be the conscious effort to train the TMPs to use the book in their practice. In that sense, it is not just a reference material, but it is a manual in its own right.
The Science and Technology Policy Research Institute(STEPRI)of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research(CSIR)will continue to sustain its traditional herbal medicine programme. It will conduct studies to inform policies and programmes on traditional herbal medicine and it will liaise with the appropriate establishments such as the Ministry of Health(MOH)and the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) to facilitate policy impact on the practice.
The relationship between CSIR-STEPRI and the policy institution has been long-standing. As the pharmacopoeia gets published, it is important to put on record that the project to revise the previous edition of the pharmacopoeia was made possible with the support of MESTI. Honourable Sherry Ayittey who was then the Minister of Environment, Science and Technology made the request to the West African Health Organization (WAHO) for financial support. WAHO consented to the request and made available US$40,000.00 for the technical work and publishing of the Pharmacopoeia. The CSIR is grateful to WAHO and to the Minister for her staunch support for the Institute’s programmes. This gratitude will definitely trigger greater commitment to more intensive work.
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2. Agricultural Innovations: Technological inputs for Enhancing Agricultural Production in Ghana
The word ”innovation” has suddenly become the buzzword of our time. We hear it and read it so often these days in all kinds of media, that is as if it is the panacea to all our development challenges. Maybe it is. But even if it is not, we need to make it so. The challenge to make innovations the bedrock to all development efforts is even greater for developing countries such Ghana. The challenge calls for systemic approach with all actors playing their roles.
This innovation series is aimed at creating awareness of the actual state of innovation in Ghana and other parts of the developing world and highlighting issues needing the attention the attention of all the actors or stakeholders-policy makers, developing workers, industrialists, farmers, investors, etc. We need to know the status quo and how things are working to improve the structure. Innovation is not simply a piece of machine or product or a new technique. It is the summation of an interactive process involving tangible and intangible entities. In the innovation series, we endeavour to capture facets of the interative process I fairly simplified terms for all to appreciate better, their roles in the process.
This first publication in this series is focused on agricultural innovations from what may be referred to as the formal knowledge centres –the research institutes and relevant university departments. On the surface one may jump to the conclusion that this is simply a public relations effort for these institutions. Yet the more substantive point in deciding on this focus is to awaken stakeholders to the fact that agricultural innovation is crucial and though we have some innovations, we need to put in greater effort. As stated from the outset, the research for this publication adopted a system prospective to innovation. We need to highlight the networking processes in arriving at the innovations and therefore the need for greater commitment from stakeholders .The publication also underscores some of the contextual challenges and prospects and therefore points to the policy directions that are need to stimulate greater innovation.
The Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI) has been involved in innovation studies for some years now. We believe that we need to enshrine our knowledge in some form so that we can share with those interested. We are ready to also learn from others and therefore we will be most grateful to receive feedback on this first publication from those who read it.
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3. Innovation Conference Ghana 2016: Proceedings
The development challenges facing Africa are daunting and yet surmountable. From food and nutrition insecurity, through shelter and unemployment to environmental degradation, the key to addressing the challenges, is Science, Technology and Innovation (STI). In this regard, it is critical to create a climate for innovation that enhances the productivity in all sectors of the economy with significant impact on society. Such an innovation climate will nurture Research and Development (R&D) to become the game changers in national development.
Nevertheless, creating and sustaining an innovation climate calls for strong partnerships among all stakeholders especially between government, industry and research institutions. This underpins the exciting prospect building “Champions of Innovation Network” to rejuvenate the ecosystem of innovation. Offers enormous potential in promoting economic growth, creating jobs and finding solutions to major development challenges. Such a system transforms the productive sectors of the economy, emphasising value addition of raw materials through industrialisation resulting from increased innovation and knowledge generation.
As we take efforts to generate knowledge and stimulate innovation in the country, there is the need to create platforms to inform, educate and critique what has been done. We are delighted to publish the proceedings of the first Innovation Conference Ghana 2016, which counts as a platform for information discourse. It was the first innovation conference of its kind with very good participation from researchers in a wide range of disciplines. The conference was aimed at creating a network of innovation practitioners, including scholars in order to drive innovation research in Ghana and West Africa as a whole to facilitate socio-economic development and improve livelihoods.
The organizers of this conference and their sponsors would definitely take pride in hosting participants from diverse expertise and across the globe. A greater pride comes with the publication of the proceedings. The knowledge that was produced out of the conference is now permanently documented.
4. Deployment and Utilization of Public Access Venues : A Case Study of GhanaThe contribution of ICTs to development cannot be over-emphasised and many countries have developed programmes and strategies to ensure fuller integration and utilisation of the technologies. In the developed world, ICTs are profoundly applied to all facets of human lives and have produced visible and effective outcomes which have enhanced activities such as trade, transport, governance, research, agriculture and banking among others.
However, the case is different in developing countries where ICT accessibility is limited. Data from the International Telecommunication Union indicated that by the end of 2011, 70% of the total households in developed countries had internet access, whereas only 20% of households in developing countries had it. In terms of computers in households, the developing world accounted for 25%. This data shows how the developing world lags behind in computer and internet access. The figures for internet and computers will be less if one considers Africa alone. Arguably, with this low computer and internet penetration at the household level, public access venues providing services such as internet, computer and secretarial services among others becomes very important for the majority of people from the developing world including Africa.
There is the argument that public access venue is one of the crucial means of effectively bridging the digital divide. To a large extent, this might be true but we support opinion of Haseloff (2005) who stated that the public access venues are equally important to middle class society. In effect, they provide access to ICT services to wide spectrum of users.
Today, substantial evidence exist that points to the fact that public access venues have enormous contributions to skill development, improvement of governance, education, leisure and health, among others. Given the importance of public access venue, its development in Ghana should not be left entirely in the hands of private sector. The government through the Electronic Communications Act, 2008 ACT 775 established the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications to provide universal services in rural and un-served areas of the country. This is very positive but more is expected from the government in terms of providing a conductive environment for the public access venues to thrive.
It is in this light that this report is very important. It delves deep into three critical actors of the public access venues namely the operator, user and the non-user. To the best of our knowledge this study is the first comprehensive study on the subject in Ghana and hopefully, the recommendations will go a long way to improve the performance of the sector. The CSIR- Science and Technology Policy Research Institute will continue to deliver on its mandate by conducting policy research that will support the country’s technological development
5. International Liberalization of Trade in ICT Services
The Uruguay Round (1986-1994) and the signing of General Agreement on Trade in Services sector took place at a time when many developing, including Ghana did not have requisite data permitting them to measure the challenges and properly evaluate the advantages and costs associated with the signing of that agreement. The unavailability of complete and reliable data required for full participation in the negotiations by these countries has served as a serious handicap to the negotiations on the liberation in the trade in ICT services. Even in situations where there is data on some variables, the resource and skills required to evaluate costs and benefits of trade liberation in ICT services is inadequate. What this means is that many developing countries, including Ghana are at a risk of being forced to open up their markets to the outside world without knowing exactly the benefits and gains of such liberation in ICT services.
Today, substantial evidence exists to suggest that suppliers of ICT services in industrialised countries would be the first winners of trade liberation in services. Could the situation be the same for the ICT services sector in Ghana now and in the future? If so, under what conditions and in what ways will this happen? On what scale will this benefit be to local and foreign suppliers of ICT services? These are the basic issues that this publication seeks to address.
Discussions of these issues are quite important, at least for two reasons. First, liberalisation I general and in ICT services in particular are bringing about some important and multi-faceted challenges for Ghana which need to be well understood. Understanding these challenges and the impact of current trade policy reforms as well as the implementation of policies at the regional and national levels could better enable the country to position itself and address possible challenges that may arise. Secondly, there are numerous studies on the impact of trade liberation on economic development in Ghana. However, to the best of our knowledge, there is no specific study on the challenges of liberation of trade in ICT services in Ghana and their implications for the private sector. The latter reason provides a more relevant basis for assessing the implications of the implementation of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) In the ICT sector on the country.
We are optimistic that our research results will help policy-makers to formulate policies and strategies that will help maximise the opportunities offered by liberalisation and minimise the negative effects as well as prepare for future negotiations on trade liberation in services. It is also hoped that it will stimulate national debate and further research into the costs and benefits of liberation in trade in ICT services in the country.
It would be wrong for us not to express our sincere gratitude to the Panos Institute of West Africa who initiated this study in four West African Countries, including Ghana, the consortium pour la Recherche Economique et Sociale (CRES-Senegal) for their technical support in coordinating the study, and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) for their financial support.
6. A Report on Developing Local Content: Knowledge,Attitudes and Pracrtices among Ghanaian Supply Companies
In view of the fact that oil and gas sector is new to the Ghanaian economy, there is paucity of information about the budding oil and gas industry in Ghana. Therefore, this report which is a product of the Nkoso 2015 Project, having recognized the need for information and knowledge, is a comprehensive analysis of the attitudes, knowledge and practices of local companies, participating in the emerging industry. The report provides the features and characteristics of local companies; their experiences with respect to management of the companies, sourcing financing, human resources for the sector, seeking jobs from oil companies and their contractors, and their relations with the support of state agencies. The report also torches on the challenges militating against the potential of the companies. The report is very useful for players in the oil and gas industry notably; policy makers, oil companies, local companies, support state agencies, financial institutions and the general public who wish to understand the sector.
The analyses undertaken in this report provide many policy implications that are useful for policy makers to inform the implementation of current policies and for the formulation of future policies. Furthermore, the analyses can be viewed as feedback on current policy on private sector development. The report is also useful to oil companies in providing them with information on the general features of local companies in Ghana, in order for the oil companies to contextualize their relations with the local companies. I find this report relevant for local companies involved in the emerging in oil and gas in Ghana as feedback to inform their future operations and to even enable them understand the environment within which they operate. respect to state agencies that support private sector development and oil and gas industry, this report is a resource to help provide pointers as to how these agencies can re-strategize to provide adequate, up-to-date and timely assistance to local companies, and even where possible anticipate the needs of the industry.
It is my fervent hope that this report will find wide circulation so that all relevant stakeholders can benefit from the information it contains in order that together, we all nurture a sustainable oil and gas industry in Ghana.
7. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs):Benefits,Threats and Policy Implications
Biotechnology is one of the emerging technologies whose development, application and adoption have been engulfed by a lot of controversies. The underlying causes of the controversies are the seeming potential threats associated with the technology, especially the genetic modifications of living organisms to the human health and environment. Arguments have been raised against the backdrop of enormous potential benefits biotechnology presents to addressing critical problems facing the human race development of new therapeutics, new industrial products, processes and applications, and more importantly, addressing agricultural development. For developing countries, the ability to address problems of agriculture and increase food production to feed the teeming population has become a major preoccupation of governments.
At presents, desertification is expanding in some regions, resulting in shrinkage of arable land, shortage of water and deteriorating ecological environment. These are devastating the vital basis for the development of food and agriculture production, and severely threatening human survival and development. The Food and Agriculture Organisation indicated that 34 countries are now experiencing droughts and food shortages, while up to 30 million people will need assistance because of the droughts and other natural disasters.
Modern technology becomes one of the attractive technologies which potentially can address problems of agriculture and increased food production. However, the decision to adopt modern biotechnology tools, processes and products requires a sustained dialogue between all stakeholders, awareness creation and development of the necessary policy regulatory frameworks.
The Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), through the sponsorship of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), of Canada, has initiated a series of dialogue on biotechnology tools, processes and products. The IDRC sponsorship is under a new initiative called Research on Knowledge Systems (RoKS) launched by IDRC in June 2001.
The objective of these for a, apart from creating public awareness, is to elicit the views and perceptions of all stakeholders on biotechnology, and also input into the process of developing national biotechnology policy for the country. It is hoped that by the completion of the project in 2006, Ghana will be on the threshold of developing a national biotechnology policy which will guide the country’s biotechnology development, application and utilisation.
8. Institutions Supporting Scientific & Industrial Development
The effective use of science and technology (S&T) has been identified globally as the most critical requirement for economic and national development. In order to effectively harness the nation’s human and material resources in the application of S&T, many established institutions have to play their roles within the national framework, in any of the fields of development planning, education and training, research and development, finance and investment, promotion of entrepreneurship, standardization and quality control, and legal and regulatory concerns. Since these institutions are numerous with diverse mandates, they may easily become a puzzle for those not conversant with them.
There is therefore the need to provide detailed information on all these institutions, which form part of the country’s technological capacity. It is this need that this documents seeks to meet, with the purpose of facilitating quick referencing, flow of information, and interface activities which are essential for enhancing the support they provide in the national S&T system. In providing this information, the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute(STEPRI)seeks to bring out the essential characteristics of those key institutions for those unfamiliar with them, while making it possible for the institutions themselves to identify others playing complementary roles and thereby foster better linkages in the national S&T institutional framework.
It is hoped that with the updated information provided in this edition, this document will be found even more useful than the previous one, and fully meets the objectives in its preparation.