Ghana has introduced the National Innovation Challenge (NIC) aimed at encouraging the country’s youth to unleash their creativity and compete in innovation.
It also aims to stimulate an innovation culture among students and non-students, ensure the commercial success of innovations through competitions and raise public awareness about science, technology and innovation.
Funded by the World Bank and implemented by MESTI and the Office of the Senior Presidential Advisor, under the Public Sector Reform for Results Project, the NIC invites young Ghanaians to showcase successful solutions and ventures across eight priority sectors including renewable energy, agriculture, waste management, healthcare, oil and gas, manufacturing, mining, and public sector improvement.
The challenge will provide funding and support to young entrepreneurs with winning ideas and solutions.
The Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Kwaku Afriyie, who inaugurated the challenge on Monday in Accra, described the NIC as a watershed moment and a call to action for Ghana’s brightest minds to address pressing challenges like climate change and healthcare through innovation.
“We believe in the power of ideas to shape our destiny and we want to harness that power for the greater good,” he affirmed.
The Minister explained that the NIC encourages collaboration beyond competition, with partnerships between academia, research institutions and industry to create an ecosystem where innovation thrives.
“Innovation belongs to all of us; the farmer, engineer, teacher and entrepreneur. Our government will support it through investments, incentives and reducing bureaucratic hurdles,” he added.
Dr Afriyie expressed confidence that the NIC would catalyze Ghana’s progress, leading to more sustainable, equitable and promising futures powered by homegrown solutions.
“Let us work together to create a brighter, more innovative future for our nation.
The Senior Presidential Advisor, Dr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, on his part, described the challenge as a significant step towards leveraging Ghana’s potential through creativity and resourcefulness.
He emphasised that the NIC represents a commitment to fostering an innovation culture deeply embedded across society as it would bring together a community of innovators to develop solutions for pressing issues.
He called for an embracing principle of inclusivity, sustainability, collaboration, resilience and a global perspective as innovators embark on this journey.
Dr Osafo-Maafo envisioned Ghana as a hub of everyday innovation and creativity, where the NIC represents just the beginning, and expressed confidence the NIC will yield groundbreaking ideas to positively transform Ghana and beyond.
Richard Aniagyei, ISD