Ladies and Gentlemen, Assalamu Alaikum wa rahamatu llahi wa barakatuhuu.
I am indeed delighted to join you all for today’s event. Four years ago, when I was invited here to launch this University, I expressed my gratitude and that of the government of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to the sponsors of this institution, for the capital investment they made towards its establishment. Four years down the line, I am here again this time to witness the graduation of sixty-one (61) graduands. Once again, permit me to express my gratitude and that of President Nana Ado Dankwa Akufo-Addo to the sponsors, management and staff of M.I.S.T for the additional investment in time, effort and funds to sustain the operations of the University for the past four (4) years.
Council Chairman, there is no gain saying that running a university is no mean a task; more so when it is a Science and Technology University. For that reason, I would say Ayekoo to the sponsors, management, staff and students and to all who contributed in diverse ways towards the sustenance of the process.
The government of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is not only weary of the importance of human capital when it comes to national development, but has placed on a higher pedestal the development of the right human capital for the transformation of Ghana’s economy, on the back of Science, Technology and Innovation. To meet this need, our government in 2017 embarked on the Free SHS Programme to ensure that no Ghanaian Child is left out in the acquisition of Basic and High School Education. By the time the products of the Free SHS would have graduated from the University system, we would have developed the Human Capital and technological know-how to process primary products into value added commodities; hence laid the foundation for the transition of the Ghanaian economy from an Agrarian Economy to a Knowledge Economy. Achieving this feat make Ghana less vulnerable to the fluctuating commodity prices on the Global market and put us in a better stead to enjoy the long-term benefits of our natural resources.
Council Chairman, over the past four years, under the government of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, we have witnessed the infusion of various technologies into various sectors of the economy. Some of the innovations we have introduced, which may appear as science fiction just a few years ago, are game changers in the way economies are managed. In the health sector we used drones to deliver over 150 different medicines to remote locations across the country. We introduced the Ghana (ID) Card to provide legal identity to our citizens, and established the digital address system so that we can register businesses and geo-position them so that prospective clients, partners and others can locate them. We also introduced the Mobile Money Interoperability Framework to facilitate to transfer of funds by Mobile Money Customers from one mobile money wallet to another wallet across networks. The Mobile Money Interoperability project did not only make inter-network transactions convenient and easy; it also facilitated the financial inclusion of the non-banked community in Ghana and has also been significantly instrumental in Ghana’s progress towards a cash lite society.
Council Chairman, the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement System (GhiPSS), in its March 2021 report, reported that for the first quarter of this year, an industry total of 295 million Mobile Money Transactions, worth GHC 67.9 billion, were carried out. Out of that industry total, 6.2million transactions worth GHC 990.7 million went through the Mobile Money Interoperability Platform. Other technologies deployed by GhiPSS that are gradually becoming game changers are the GhiPSS Instant Pay, E-Zwich and Gh-Link. The new kid on the block in the financial technology landscape is the GhQR.
All these achievements – and a lot more in the pipeline, yet to come – has been made possible because of the political will and moral courage of the government of Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo. However, Mobilising political will and moral courage is not going to be enough if we do not have the right human capital, with the right knowledge and skill sets working with the right toolkit that will enable us to make the right and most impactful decisions. This buttresses the call for partnership between our Universities, Industry and Government.
Indeed, there is a lot more that we, as government, in partnership with the universities and research institutions can do on the back of the Science and Technology Policy launched by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at Peduase Lodge on January 21st, 2019. The thrust of this policy towards national development rests on ensuring that science, technology and innovation drive all sectors of the economy; not just the service sector. As a government we are determined to lay a strong foundation for the transformation of this economy from a Guggisberg Economy, that relies on the proceeds from the sale of natural resources in their raw state, to an industrial economy that feeds on proceeds of sale of manufactured products. The foundation that we intend to lay would draw inspiration from the Triple Helix Model of National Innovation System. In order to adequately position Ghana for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) there is the need for interactions between our Universities and Research Institutions on one hand and industry and government on another, to foster the desired economic transformation and social development; as described in concepts such as the knowledge economy and knowledge society. To facilitate the University/Research Institution, Industry and Government interaction and collaboration, the government of Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo has established a Ghana Innovation and Research Commercialization (GIRC) Center at CSIR. The GIRC Center, would serve as the commercialization node of the Ghana Research Value Chain (Ecosystem).
I have been informed that M.I.S.T, with the support of KNUST, one of its affiliate institutions, is seeking accreditation by GTEC, to develop and roll out programmes in Computer Science, Information Technology, Data Science and Innovation and Technology Management. There is no gain saying that it is a step in the right direction. The Ghanaian economy needs a critical mass of workforce with the knowledge and skill sets in Computer Science, Information Technology and Data Science, as those disciplines and their related technologies – Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data and Connectivity – would be at the center stage of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It is recognition of the role these digital technologies would play in the fourth industrial revolution, hence the Digitization Agenda of the government of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, that we re-named the Ministry of Communications Ministry of Communications and Digitization.
Innovation and Technology Management (ITM) is also crucial given the myriad of innovations and technologies that are being developed across various sectors of the economy. Both the Public Sector and the Private Sector would require a workforce with innovation and technology management knowledge and skill sets to manage their innovation and technologies. So, there is an opportunity out there which M.I.S.T and other Universities thinking of rolling out ITM can take advantage of. But it is not just speed to market but the quality of the programmes that would make the difference. Engaging prospective subscribers of the programme, to undertake a needs assessment, would also contribute a great deal in shaping the programme to meet the needs of industry.
And to our graduands, congratulations on your successful completion of your studies. Four years ago, you made a choice among several options to come to M.I.S.T and you were offered a place by the admissions office to study here. I believe you do not regret having made that choice. Today, as a result of your hard work and in defiance of the odds, you are going to walk out of the gates of this university a graduate equipped with the knowledge, skills and the values of M.I.S.T.
It is good you have met all the requirements required of you to graduate, but more importantly it is the positive attitude and the values that you have acquired here that would make the difference in your life.
As you walk out of the gates of M.I.S.T, you are going to begin a new life; a life full of challenges, prospects and opportunities. Be willing to accept the challenges of life and the work place and be courageous to seize the opportunities that come your way; leveraging the knowledge and skills you have acquired and the networks you have built during your stay here. Life is like a sinusoidal wave. There are times when you will soar and there are times when you would fall. But with the training you have received here I believe you will persevere when you fall, and you will recover stronger and wiser. Do not get carried away when you soar. Be humble and respect those below you and those around you as well as those above you.
As you go through the ups and downs of life, try to find the purpose of your creation, and when you do, try to live your life serving that purpose, to the best of your ability and capability. Remember to draw strength from your relationship with your creator and to live the motto of M.I.S.T; learn here, lead everywhere. I wish you all the best in the years ahead. Thank you.