Ghana, according to the World Bank, spends GH₵ 290 million or its equivalent of 1.6% of GDP or $12.2 per capita on poor hygiene and sanitation annually.
Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, said the estimate given by the World Bank should be of concern to researchers because “this is an enormous amount eating into our limited resources available for national development”. Ayittey was delivering the keynote address at the first Applied Research Conference in Africa (ARCA) at Elmina on Tuesday on the theme: “The Significance of Research and Development in Nation Building”.
Researchers from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa and others from Europe and Asia are attending the three-day conference organized by the Alumni of the Kwame-Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), with the Cape Coast Chapter hosting.
The Minister outlined waste management and poor sanitation as problems facing the environmental sector which must receive rapt attention and indicated that it was about time the various scientific insitutions, KNUST and its related alliescollaborated to find a lasting solution to the problem that was staring most cities in Africa in the face.
“The various scientific institutions in Africa should double their efforts and collaborate with other bodies to take a hard look at these solvable problems and solve them to improve the quality of human life in Africa”.
On housing the Minister said the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) sector must double up its use of raw materials in the building industry adding that Ghana has clay deposits that would last for three thousand years and which must be harnessed not only for domestic use but for brick making for export.
She said the Government had not relaxed but had doubled efforts to ensure the promotion of the use of local raw materials in the various industries and that the Ministry will soon set up Centres of Scientific Excellence that will evolve techniques on such materials to boost local industries.