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IMANI’s Event Report: Donors will now fund Business and Developmental Research says the South Driven Development Research Programme in Ghana


During the last 25 years, Danida has supported about 200 research partnerships between Danish and South researchers in the Danida partner countries in Africa, South America and Asia. The projects have so far produced a large number of PhDs and research publications, have communicated findings to uses at all levels as well as build the research capacities of research institutions and Universities in Danida Programme countries.

Every year Danida organizes such review meetings to enable the Danish teams to visit its southern partners to get a firsthand view of the state of the research projects underway. The event also affords both partners in the research endeavor opportunities to dialogue over the best approach to handling ongoing and new research projects, while also enabling the Danida team to better appreciate the benefits and challenges of the projects and overall grant arrangements. Feedback from these annual meetings are very useful in improving Danida funding programs in partner countries.

This year’s Annual Review Meetings by the Danida team started on the 23rd of May 2016 and will end on the 27th of May. During the period the visiting team has visited the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, the University of Ghana among other research organizations where Danida is funding specific research projects.

Thematic Meeting on “Research and Private Sector Collaboration”

A key aspect of the Annual Review Meeting is the Thematic meetings. This is a crucial meeting which brings all stakeholders together to discuss best practices and the future of Danish support to such research projects as per the long term visions of Danish funding in general. This year’s thematic meeting was organized on the On the 26th of May, 2016, in collaboration with the Ghana Academy of Arts(GAAS) and Sciences, Ghana’s premier learned society.

The event took place at the new ultra-modern GAAS auditorium. The event itself was chaired the Honourable Tove Degnbol, Danish Ambassador to Ghana and hosted by Prof. P. K. Turkson FGA; Assistant Honorary Secretary, Sciences Section, Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The Honourable Ambassador addressing the audience, drew attention to the fact that the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs was currently in the process of reviewing its support to developmental research with the view to strengthen the linkages to Danish interest, including commercial interest. She emphasized that strong consideration was being given to the possibility of future support to development research which is more systematically linked with the private sector, hence the theme for this year’s thematic meeting.

Various speakers then after took turns to discuss a number of issues while also addressing the main theme of research-private sector collaboration. Representatives of the two primary research partners also gave updates regarding progress in their quest for a much closer private sector collaboration.

Prof. Robert Hinson, representing the University of Ghana, bemoaned the sorry state of private sector collaboration with research organizations in Ghana. He however admitted one of the key reasons was because research organizations and universities had done too little to get the attention of the private sector. To rectify this situation however, he suggested that Danida supported efforts by the University of Ghana to create innovation labs. He stressed that these labs will not only foster a sense of innovation and research in the Universities but will also give the Universities an opportunity to showcase some of their projects to private sector actors on a regular basis.

Prof. William Oduro, representing the KNUST concurred with Prof. Hinson’s assertions for a more concerted effort to seek private sector collaborations.

Aboagye Mintah represented IMANI to give a presentation on the topic ‘views from the private sector’. In a nut shell, he sought to share with the audience IMANI’s experiences working with the private sector, lessons learnt and some recommendations on how Danida could support and improve the level of collaboration between private sector and our research organizations.

As a result of time constraints, Aboagye could only share one example of an IMANI project done in collaboration with a private sector player. He elaborated how IMANI was approached by the Universal Hospitals Group, a total healthcare services company, about the possibility of working together on a nationwide research on the state of Biomedical waste management in both public and private health institutions.

Aboagye shared some of the key findings about the sorry state of biomedical management in the country. He also highlighted that the reason this is the case was simply because Ghana lacked the needed regulatory and legal framework for dealing with the situation. He thus noted that IMANI’s was currently working closely with all key stakeholders to review the biomedical waste management policy as well as fashion out a bill for possible consideration by cabinet and parliament.

Aboagye further elaborated some of the challenges inhibiting private sector collaboration of research in Ghana. He stressed about five key challenges that included, the general lack of rapport between research organizations and corporate Ghana, as well as policy inadequacies, i.e., the clear lack to deliberate policies that will encourage private sector investment and support for pure research organizations, among a number of other salient challenges raised.

In conclusion, Aboagye made some recommendations particularly in relation to how Danida could support initial efforts towards building the culture of private sector-research organizations collaborations.

He stressed that Danida may want to look into the possibility of funding some form of preliminary semiformal meetings which will bring research organizations and corporate players together on a more regular basis. Such meetings will afford the corporate players opportunities to better appreciate the projects being undertaken by the research organizations while on the other the research organizations will also get an understanding on the needs and interest of these corporate players.

Among other things Aboagye also suggested to the Danida team to consider funding some capacity building programs for targeted research organizations to train them to gain some professional understanding in the intricacies of targeting and pitching ideas to corporate players. He stressed that this understanding of the priorities of business organizations is key to building any type of long term collaboration between the private sector and our research organizations.


Prof. Allotey brought the meeting to an end at 4:15 pm

More Examples on IMANI’S work with the Private Sector

  • After the Tobinco-Gsunate scandal hit the airwaves in 2013, IMANI undertook a sentiment survey of the pharmaceutical industry to gauge the perceptions of key players about the FDA’s responsiveness, its quality of service and the general excellence of delivery.

Of the 68 importers, distributors, marketers and manufacturers whose views were sampled, all of them felt that the FDA’s quality of service, responsiveness, and general excellence of delivery needed “substantial improvement”.

Most respondents reported a waiting time of at least one year after drugs had been submitted to them for approval, even for drugs that had undergone substantial clinical testing elsewhere. As if this were not bad enough, 95% of respondents reported that they were almost always kept in the dark about the state of their applications during this long periods of FDA consideration of submitted samples.

The research generally revealed a state of despondency in the industry as a result of the FDA’s seeming disinterest in considering the pharmaceutical companies as ‘clients’ of theirs.

This report had substantial impact. 70% of current protocols regarding how imported medicines are treated is owed to our work on the pharmaceutical survey. Two committees were set up by the Parliamentary Health Committee and the Ministry of Health. IMANI was called to make presentations based on our survey findings.

 Aspects of the report can be accessed at http://www.graphic.com.gh/features/features/11250-is-the-fda-efficient-responsive-enough-to-protect-ghanaians-imani.html .

  • IMANI also worked with the main alcoholic beverage companies in Ghana to flag inimical advertising regulations and analysed why such broad sanctions leads to a thriving underground alcohol economy. IMANI prepared all the ground work for a draft alcohol policy. Imani directly helped set up the alcohol manufacturers association in Ghana.

  • IMANI has also undertaken market research for international corporate players seeking to invest in local companies. IMANI, for instance, was contracted by Aureous Ghana Advisors to evaluate the socio-economic impact of drugs manufactured by a local pharmaceutical company on consumers at the bottom of the pyramid (BoP).

To establish the socio economic impact, IMANI conducted a three phased approach to the


  1. Consumer Survey
  2. Market Performance
  3. Product Quality Assessment

Specifically, the survey sought to establish the percentage of the pharmaceutical company’s consumers were at the base of the socio economic pyramid and factors affecting their choice of the company’s brands.

Aboagye Mintah is IMANI’s Business Development Lead.



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