Executive Director, Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS) Visits Ghana

The Executive Director of COMSATS, Dr. Imtinan Elahi Qureshi (T.I.), arrived at the Accra International Airport from Nigeria at 4:30PM on Wednesday, October 26, 2011 and was met by  Ing. Eugene Atiemo, Director and Mr. Kofi Yankson, Scientific Secretary, CSIR-BRRI. Dr. Qureshi’s luggage did not arrive with him but Ing. Atiemo followed it up and got it for him the following morning. He put up at the AirSide Hotel, Accra.

Meeting with Director-General, CSIR and Director, CSIR-BRRI

On Thursday, October 27, 2011, Dr. Qureshi had a brief meeting with Ing. Atiemo, Director of CSIR-BRRI, who briefed him on the activities of CSIR and the International Centre of Materials Science and Technology (ICMST). He explained that originally, the ICMST consisted of the CSIR-BRRI and Institute of Mining and Mineral Engineering (IMME), KNUST with the centre at CSIR-BRRI but currently, the IMME was inactive. Dr. Qureshi then proposed the entire CSIR as the new Centre of Excellence to enable other Institutes aside BRRI to be members.

Dr. Qureshi met with Dr. A.B. Salifu, D-G, CSIR at 10.15AM at the latter’s office. Dr. Qureshi informed the D-G that he was in Ghana to thank him for BRRI’s participation in COMSATS’ acticities over the past few years. He said he was in the country to discuss the future of Ghana’s participation in COMSATS’ activities. He stated that COMSATS was a friendly Institution and at its meetings, each centre of excellence reports on what it does. He particularly mentioned a presentation made by Ing. Atiemo about pozzolana research and production which was applauded by members.  He gave a brief history of COMSATS and presented a document about the organisation’s  current activities.

From L to R: Ing. Eugene Atiemo, Dr. Qureshi and Dr. A.B. Salifu
Dr. Qureshi mentioned the intention to transform the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT) to a University and indicated that the necessary documents had been sent to Parliament for consideration. He said, 80 Student Scientists had already benefitted from the CIIT’s training in Internet Security.
The D-G, on his part, welcomed the idea of COMSATS and mentioned that the CSIR-CRI was being transformed into a Regional Centre of Excellence, sponsored by the West African Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP). He mentioned the setting up of an Artisan Training Centre at the CSIR-BRRI in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology. He noted the CSIR-INSTI was already working with another body on ‘e-solutions’ with another organization while the CSIR-CRI was seriously involved in ‘Agricultural Biotechnology’. On Medicinal Plants Research, the D-G informed Dr. Qureshi that CSIR-IIR and CSIR-FORIG were already involved.

Meeting with Deputy Director-General

Ing. Atiemo introduced Dr. Qureshi to Dr. R.E.M. Entsua-Mensah, DD-G, CSIR and informed her that the original Centre of Excellence proposed to consist of CSIR-BRRI and IMME, KNUST was done by Prof. Kwasi Ayensu, former DD-G, CSIR. 
Dr. Qureshi gave a brief presentation on COMSATS’ recent initiatives, especially the launching of International Thematic Research Groups (ITRG). He informed the DD-G that Ghanaian Scientists were welcome to join three operational groups in the areas of Climate, Medicinal Plants and ICTs. He again mentioned the idea of transforming the CIIT to a University and said currently, there were 16,000 Students who had enrolled with about 300 PhD Students and 1,700 Faculty Members.
The DD-G expressed her delight for the visit and particularly elated about the issue of the University and suggested a possible collaboration with the CSIR Graduate School to be setup.

Meeting with Hon. Sherry Ayittey, Minister, Environment, Science and Technology

Dr. Qureshi met with the Hon. Sherry Ayittey on Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 3:15PM. Officials present at the meeting included Mr. George K. Scott, Chief Director, MEST; Dr. A. B. Salifu, Director General, CSIR; Ing. Eugene Atiemo, Director, CSIR-BRRI and Mr. Kofi Yankson, Scientific Secretary, CSIR-BRRI.
Dr. Qureshi invited the Hon. Minister to personally represent Ghana in the forthcoming Commission Meeting of COMSATS. Touching on the issues of financial support for Science and Technology, Dr. Qureshi stressed that all developing countries were in dire need of greater funding for R&D. Organizations like COMSATS, which depended on voluntary contributions of Member States, also needed to be financially supported to enhance their ability to execute projects directly contributing to the socio-economic upliftment of developing countries.

Dr. Qureshi also delivered a personal letter from the Minister for Science and Technology, Government of Pakistan, H. E. Mr. Changez Khan Jamali, addressed to Hon. Ayittey, in which it was desired that Ghana might consider enhancement of scientific cooperation with Pakistan on bilateral level, as well as through the platform of COMSATS.

The Hon. Sherry Ayittey, reaffirmed the support of her Ministry towards COMSATS' programmes and desired to expand co-operation in areas of Environment, Agriculture and Biotechnology. The Minister again expressed keen interest in educational opportunities available for Ghanaian students at COMSATS Institute of From L-R: Dr. Salifu, Mr. Scott, Hon. Ayittey, Dr. Qureshi and Ing. AtiemoInformation Technology (CIIT).

While receiving COMSATS’ shield from the Executive Director, the Minister appreciated his visit to Ghana and thanked Dr. Qureshi for exploring possibilities of strengthening COMSATS’ role in the development of science and technology in Ghana. The Minister assured Dr. Qureshi that his suggestions would be discussed at the appropriate level.

Ing. Atiemo mentioned that COMSATS had already sponsored a Scientist from BRRI to participate in the recently held CTWF-COMSATS joint International Training Workshop on 'Regional Climate Change and its Impact Assessment' in October, 2011 in China. He further informed the Minister that Dr. Qureshi would be visiting BRRI in Kumasi. A presentation made on that occasion would be sent to Directors of other Institutes of CSIR.

Dr. Qureshi met with the Staff of CSIR-BRRI in Kumasi on Friday, October 28, 2011 after which he was conducted round the Pozzolana Factory.
On his return to Accra on Saturday, October 29, 2011, he was taken to the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, Accra, for sight-seeing before he left Ghana at 5:30PM.