Transformative Innovation Policy in Ghana: Lessons from the South Africa workshop

Thinking & Analysis

Ghana has signed up to the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and has incorporated all 17 SDGs into the country’s national development plans. The Government Coordinated Priority Programme is anchored on:

  • Revitalising the economy
  • Transforming agriculture and industry
  • Strengthening social protection and inclusion
  • Revamping economic and social infrastructure
  • Reforming public service delivery institutions.

The challenge of leaving no one behind in achieving the SDGs can only happen with transformative change and as such the invitation to join TIPC was timely.  Ms Adelaide Asante, from the Ministry of Environment Science Technology and Innovation (MESTI), and Dr Wilhlemina Quaye, Researcher with Science and Technology Policy Research Institute, had the opportunity to participate in a workshop aimed at exploring the potential for transformative Innovation Policy (TIP) in Africa. TIP seeks to address global challenges through joint efforts from researchers, policymakers, industry and civil society. The TIP approach necessitates that Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policy actors work with relevant stakeholders towards a more inclusive, sustainable development agenda through transforming national policy.

Before attending the workshop in South Africa, a 5-pager report that mapped STI Policy Development in Ghana had been prepared. The report was reviewed during the workshop with the aim to decide on one case study to be conducted using the Transformative Innovation Learning History Methodology (TILH). As part of the TILH methodological process, a number of steps have to be followed. The first step involved bounding the case-study in time and space, giving reasons for why other cases suggested earlier in the 5-pager report were not selected. Provisional timelines for case study activities, including participants list and roles of actors, were then identified.  From this, the TILH case study will be conducted and will be presented at the next transnational workshop.

The TIP team in Ghana have decided to work on E-waste after careful considerations of the six key TIP pillars: directionality, societal goals, system-level impact, opportunities for learning and reflexivity, conflict/consensus building, and inclusivity. The selection of E-waste case is both important and relevant to Ghana for various reasons. For example, MESTI and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have been at the forefront of developing Technical Guidelines on Environmentally Sound E-Waste Management in Ghana. This case study will therefore complement and strengthen existing efforts and provide opportunities for learning.

We are looking forward to the application of the TILH methodology in identifying innovative policy and development pathways for solving this societal challenge in Ghana. Up to until now, E-waste has mostly been recycled without any measures to protect human health and the environment in Ghana. In order to change that, the new guidelines supports all actors – from the small scale collectors to the collection/buy-back centres, to transporters and treatment facilities – to implement necessary basic steps for the protection of the environment and the people’s health.

We look forward to developing and initiating the implementation of Transformative Innovative Policy with strategies that are clearly outlined and well-coordinated action plans for sustainable management of E-waste in Ghana.

Author’s bio:

Dr Wilhlemina Quaye, is a Researcher and the Director of the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI), Ghana

Ms Adelaide Asante, is a policymaker at the Ministry of Environment Science Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Ghana

Dr Chux Daniels, is a Research Fellow in Science, Technology and Innovation Policy at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex, UK