Dr. George Essegbey
Chief Research Scientist, Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (CSIR-STEPRI)
Dr. George Owusu Essegbey has worked in Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) policy research for several years in the broad sectors of agriculture, industry, environment, and across key thematic areas including innovation studies, sustainable development, biodiversity conservation, and capacity building. He is an STI policy researcher at the rank of Chief Research Scientist and was the Director of the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) of Ghana for more than 10 years until April 2018. Currently, he is the Chief Executive Officer of the CSIR-Technology Development and Transfer Centre (CSIR-TDTC). He has served various national and international organizations with his expertise including UNESCO, UNCTAD, UNEP, FAO, IFPRI, and the World Bank. He is the President of AfricaLics with Secretariat in Nairobi. AfricaLics is the network of researchers in Learning, Innovation and Competence-building systems in Africa. In Ghana, he is among other things the Resource Person for Ghana’s STI Roadmap for the SDGs sponsored by UNESCO and he is facilitating the revision of the National STI Policy.
17:00-18:30 8 December
Thematic session IV/c Intersections between social justice and the free and responsible conduct of science
Science as a Global Public Good and the Asymmetry of National Wealth and Sovereignty -
The manifestation of science as a global public good is in the benefits that people everywhere gain irrespective of geography, gender, creed or whatever. These benefits of science are very diverse including the agricultural produce and products, products of healthcare and wellbeing, infrastructures for human settlement, transportation and communication. As the world commits to the achievement of sustainable goals in all spheres of human life a fundamental question is how to amplify the global public good characteristic of science in the manifestation of the benefits of science in all societies. And the major factor is ensuring the availability of the critical human resources for impacting the benefits of science on their respective societies.
I bring up the key issue of asymmetry of national wealth and sovereignty distorting the availability of critical human resources for bringing the benefits of science to their societies. It is not an issue of blaming one region or the other for the asymmetry. It is simply to bring the point into discussion about how to enhance the benefits of science in the more deprived regions with focus on availability of the critical human resources.
The case of brain drain and the negative impact on Africa is well known. The African Union Development Agency (2021) estimates that Africa loses about $2 billion annually through migration of professionals including doctors, engineers and academics to advanced countries such as the US, Canada, UK and Australia. For example, UK has some 6,770 Nigerian doctors registered with its National Health Services whereas Nigeria only has one doctor to 5,000 persons, which is extremely far below WHO’s recommendation of one doctor to 600 persons. Wealth and sovereignty enable countries to enhance the benefits of science for their people at the expense of other countries even if inadvertently. There have been discussions of how to address the brain drain challenge. However, it is about time that greater efforts are made to find solutions within the context of social justice and the principle of enhancing the global public good of science across all regions of the world.