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Part II: The pursuit of science and technology

3 Ghana
4 Kenya
5 Tanzania
6 Uganda

3 Ghana

Recent economic history
The prospects for industry
The structural adjustment programmes
R&D institutions
Science and technology at the Ghanaian universities
Ghana's total expenditures on the pursuit of science and technology


Ghana gained its independence in 1957, and was therefore one of the first countries in Africa to do so. In some ways, the Ghanaian economy has changed substantially since that date; industry and services have increased their role, and agriculture has been reduced. Income in total, and also per capita, rose for a few years, fluctuated around the highest value attained for the next few years, and then fell, until very recently. The country's population has grown very rapidly, from a figure of approximately 7 million inhabitants at the time of independence to over 16 million today. Government's role in the economy has increased.

But among these changes, certain things have remained constant. Ghanaians have sought employment abroad, sometimes in neighbouring countries, at other times in Nigeria, and still other times beyond West Africa, their numbers varying as economic conditions at home fluctuated and as emigrating Ghanaians received different welcomes. Ghana's primary exports, from which almost all of its foreign exchange is derived, have not changed in nature; throughout its history as an independent country Ghana has depended to a substantial extent upon exports of cocoa, timber and gold and, to a lesser extent, of diamonds and bauxite. Through time both the physical quantities of these exports and the price which each unit of them receives in world markets, have declined. Other constants are an increasingly urbanized population, many of whose members are unemployed or only partly employed; pressure on government constantly to increase its level of employment, both internally and within the parastatal companies; an insufficiency of public overhead capital in all branches transport, communications, energy and education - and, not unexpectedly, political instability.

It is within the economy whose main characteristics are summarized above that we undertook a study of the performance and prospects l or those organizations advancing science and technology. In outline, the description of the study will commence with a very brief history of the Ghanaian economy since independence, relying upon the accounts of others and upon the published statistics of the Ghanaian government. Our attention will be drawn to several phenomena: the overall level of economic activity, and that fraction of total output which is allocated to investment, the revenues and expenditures of the Ghanaian government; the country's exports and imports; and the borrowing and repayments it has made abroad. Within the light of these economic events, the Structural Adjustment Programmes undertaken by the Ghanaian government, on its own account and in response to the requirements of the IMF and World Bank, will be summarized. Fortunately, in the case of Ghana we have some indication as to what these conditions were, so that we will be able to list them, focusing on those which are likely to have had an impact on the advance of science and technology.

Once we have described the Structural Adjustment Programmes, and the economy on which they have been imposed, we shall move on to organizations contributing to the advance of science and technology. Three of these, one each in the fields of agriculture, industry and appropriate technology, were the subjects of detailed inquiry; of the remainder, we have merely collected a few statistics. The three organizations which we covered in detail will be described in sequence, with particular attention paid to their scope, their requests for resources, and the amounts which they were finally allocated.

With estimates of the expenditures of other R&D organizations, both in the public and the private sectors, we can derive aggregates for all research institutions within Ghana.

Science and technology were defined in Chapter 1 as including not only the activities of R&D institutions but also the activities of public and private firms of a more applied nature, and expenses of educating and training the technical workforce. These latter activities, ancillary to the carrying out of R&D, will be mentioned, and guesses made as to the amount of resources which they employ. Combining all of our measures of expenditures, in whatever areas of science and technology, we will be able to produce an overall estimate of that portion of the Ghanaian economy which is devoted to their advance. This overall measure of the amount of resources devoted to advancing science and technology, and a few alternative measures provided by others engaged in the same inquiry, will provide the basis for our evaluation in Chapter 7 of Ghana's contribution to the advance of science and technology in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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