The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has organised a regional workshop to discuss the role of multinational companies towards employment generation and poverty reduction in Ghana.
The two-day regional workshop is bringing together stakeholders in the private and public sectors of the economy as well as some participants from Tanzania, Ethiopia and the Netherlands, to create awareness about the Multinational Enterprises in Emerging Markets (MNEmerge) project, being implemented by the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI)of CSIR.
The theme for the workshop is: “Multinational Enterprises in Africa; Challenges and Options, for Effective Development” and it is also aimed at soliciting views of the stakeholders to enhance the contributions of MNEs to the country’s socio-economic development.
Dr Godfred Frempong, Deputy Director of CSIR, said the MNEmerge project, being implemented in Africa, Brazil and India, was being funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (EU FP7) for Research, Technological development and demonstration.
He said the three-year project, which would end in 2016, analysed the role of MNEs in addressing global development, challenges such as poverty alleviation, food security, health security and environmental security, among others.
It also aims at developing a comprehensive framework, case study methodology and policy analyses of the activities of multinational enterprises in Africa, Brazil and India and coordinated by the Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) in Finland.
Dr Frempong said in Ghana (Africa), the project was looking at how to improve the agriculture sector, as well as the impact of Chinese multinational enterprises; while in India, the pharmaceutical industry, biotechnology and sanitation are being worked on; and in Brazil, the energy sector is being targeted.
He said already a number of activities have been carried out in Ghana and included a background report on the role of multi-national enterprises in the agricultural sector in Ghana, which was going to be presented to the stakeholders during the two day workshop, to enable them to contribute in fine-tuning the findings.
He expressed the hope that at the end of the project, there would be the provision of a comprehensive frame work that would address managerial capability building, whilst informing policy makers on multinationals contributions towards achievement of the MDGS.
“The document will also serve as the basis or inputs into the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), a development strategy, which takes over the MDG after 2015”, Dr Frempong said.
Dr Alfred Sugri Tia, Deputy Minister of Environment Science Technology and Innovation, commended the European Union for funding the project, which is meant to address part of the gaps in knowledge acquisition, as the world moves on to the next level of global development.
He emphasized the need to forge stronger ties with the private enterprises in formulating policies that would help address challenges of the MDGs.
He said government on its part, would continue to partner stakeholders to develop important enterprises to help improve the livelihood of citizens and skills acquisition.
Dr Victor Agyemang, Director General of the CSIR, said multinational enterprises are key actors in the development process, and that, their contributions to economic development in emerging economies like that of Africa should not be underestimated.
“The multinational enterprises involvements in development process are varied: it involves knowledge exchange, including trade of products and services, strategic partnerships and technological collaboration among others. It is through these linkages that domestic actors interacting with multinational enterprises gain,” Dr Agyemang said.
He expressed the hope that the combination of direct and indirect benefits derived from the interactions with multinational enterprises would impact positively on the achievement of the MDGs.
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