The Director-General of the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT, Dr. Collins Yeboah-Afari, has indicated that investing in ICT research is critical for national development. He made this statement during the launch of the O.R. Tambo Africa Research Chairs Initiative (ORTARChI) at the KNUST School of Business.
The initiative focuses on conducting relevant research and supporting high-end skills development with an emphasis on technology, entrepreneurship, and youth employability.
Speaking at the launch on behalf of the Minister of Communications and Digitalization, Dr Yeboah-Afari underscored the role of ICT entrepreneurs as Ghana navigates the journey towards becoming a significant producer in the knowledge economy.
“ICT Entrepreneurship is of central importance because entrepreneurs craft new ideas, develop new products, respond to the market’s needs, and ultimately bring about development,” he remarked.
He advised Ghanaian graduates to look beyond job security to career and income security by gaining entrepreneurship knowledge and profiting from solving society’s problems.
“Tackling barriers to creating jobs through digital transformation is critical relating to skills matching and capacity development, gender digital divide, digital infrastructure, legal and regulatory environments, as well as concentrating on rural digitalization,” he said.
The Dean of the KNUST School of Business, Prof. Nathaniel Boso, who was named one of the Chairs from the ten African Universities to host the O.R. Tambo Africa Research Chairs Initiative was hopeful that his outfit will attract excellent researchers and scientists within Africa’s higher education system and contribute to Africa’s global research competitiveness while responding to the continent’s socio-economic needs. “This Chair wants to find empirical evidence to establish to academics around the world, to practitioners and policymakers that when we allow the African society to be driven by entrepreneurship, we can be on the way to creating new jobs, not any kind of job but sustainable jobs, jobs that pay well. “And if we are able to create these jobs, our argument is that unemployment will subsequently come down,” he said.
According to the Director of strategic partnerships at the National Research Foundation of South Africa, Dorothy Ngila, the Chair seeks to honour and promote the legacy of O.R. Tambo, emulating his values of professional excellence, integrity, inclusiveness, honesty, humility, and respect for human dignity.
The Chair will enable the KNUST School of Business to conduct relevant research and support high-end skills development under thematic areas in the Humanities and Social Sciences.