Nuclear scientists and experts are meeting in Accra to review the efforts of member states of the African Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research and Development and Training (AFRA) related to nuclear science and technology for the peaceful promotion of nuclear technology in development.
The participants will also review the AFRA agreement and deepen collaboration for the full benefit of nuclear science in development.
The five-day meeting, which is the 29th Technical Working Group of AFRA, is being organised by AFRA, in collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and hosted by Ghana.
Addressing the opening session yesterday, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, announced that the government was looking for an appropriate piece of land for a nuclear power plant that would add about 4,500 megawatts (MW) to the country’s power generation capacity.
He said the land for the nuclear power plant must, among several other considerations, be resilient to earthquakes and flooding.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said the government would sustainably increase funding for research and development until funding for the sector reached appreciable levels of 2.5 per cent of the budget.
He said innovations in science and technology were the basis of most developed countries, hence the commitment of the government to support science and research through increased funding.
He noted that the focus of AFRA, which is to build capacity in nuclear science across member states, was in “sync with Ghana’s current development agenda which puts human development at the centre”.
The Deputy Director General of the IAEA, Dr Dazhu Yang, who also addressed the meeting, expressed happiness that the meeting would discuss radiation safety and the deployment of nuclear innovation in health and agriculture.
For him, the inability of some member states to conform to safety requirements limited their ability to fully enjoy the full potential of nuclear science in their strides to develop.
He was also happy that the group would discuss the AFRA agreement and pledged the continued support of the IAEA through collaboration with Africa through the group.
Dr Yang reminded the group of current dynamics, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the African Union’s (AU’s) Vision 2030 and urged the participants to take all of them into consideration in any review they did.
The IAEA Technical Cooperation Africa Director, Mr Shaukat Abdulrazak, in his remarks, encouraged member states to collaborate more and demystify nuclear science for the benefit and awareness of their citizens.
He said there were various opportunities open in the sector and urged member states to improve upon their modes and quality of reporting for the telling of better nuclear science in development stories.
The Chairperson of AFRA, Mr Sabbiti Baguma, in his statement, said the meeting would provide the participants with a platform for them to reflect on the AFRA agreement and the way forward.
He reminded the group of previous decisions and expressed the hope that conclusions would be reached for the next major meeting of the IAEA in the course of the year.
The Chairperson for the opening ceremony, Dr Kweku Aning, noted that Ghana had lagged behind in the deployment of nuclear technology for development and expressed the hope that the situation would change, given the cooperation among members.
AFRA came into being on April 4, 1990 to provide a framework for African member states of the IAEA to intensify their collaboration through programmes and projects on nuclear science and technology.
DELIVERED AT THE FORECOURT OF THE STATE HOUSE ON FRIDAY FEBRUARY 23, 2018
Francis Kofi Ampenyin Allotey – of the Royal Sempe Stool, Accra, of Saltpond, of Ghana, of Africa and the World.
We are gathered in the Forecourt of the State House in God’s presence to honor God’s treasure and to send his faithful servant safely Home.
In Kofi Ampenyin Allotey, we have lost both a gentleman and a gentle man, a very decent one at that!
It has fallen to my lot to deliver this Eulogy to Kofi Ampenyin Allotey in a final farewell on behalf of a grateful nation and an admiring world.
THE EARLY YEARS
My association with Prof. Allotey began in 1973 when I served under him as a Chairman of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission Board. We remained close friends from that time and discussed a multiplicity of issues till he passed on in November 2017.
Of course, a great deal will be said and written about his wondrous deeds and accomplishments because he was indeed a famous man. We all know now that though Kofi Allotey was born of ordinary circumstances, he lived an extraordinary and fascinating life as a father, academic and a renowned scholar.
From very humble beginnings, Prof Allotey defied all the odds and obstacles that came his way, and indeed there were many of those.
As we celebrate his life, we cannot but also reflect on the family environment from whence he came for, together he and his family symbolize so much about what makes this country of ours the wonderful gem that it is. Poor but proud, that family of humble circumstances strove hard and exhibited industry of a very high pedigree.
Francis Allotey was born on the 9th of August, 1932 to Alice, a dressmaker of Saltpond and the farseeing Papa Joseph Allotey, originally from Accra, a trader and a general merchant who sold books, musical instruments and fishing gear for a living.
With that exceptional combination of sheer industry and talent, it is not surprising that he and Mrs. Allotey bequeathed to this world a decent number of children – seven in all.
Professor Allotey was the second of the seven, four girls and three boys.
They came in this order –Martha, Francis, Elizabeth, Augustine, Agatha, Theresa and Michael. The only survivors are Agatha and Theresa both of who have traveled down from the US to be at the funeral of their brother.
A late entrant to school at the age of nine, Francis assisted his father in his store to sell his wares. Even at that tender age, Papa Allotey marveled at his son’s facility in computing the daily sales and submitting accurate daily accounts. Those were early signs of the young Allotey’s extraordinary mathematical genius.
By age 16, Francis persisted and was enrolled at the Ghana National College as the only student in Form 1 – a clear sign of tenacity and doggedness in the young Allotey.
Motivated by his ambition to gain the benefits of higher education, Francis Allotey courageously traveled alone to Liberia at the age of 19 to obtain a British Passport so that he could proceed to England. He succeeded at that too.
Back to Saltpond, he founded a co-educational secondary school which he named the Fanti Confederation Secondary Technical College, later re-named as the Fanti State Secondary Technical College.
Then onto England, Francis traveled, checking first into Borough Polytechnic before eventually ending up at the prestigious Imperial College of Science and Technology. Such was Francis Allotey’s brilliance at his subject that he was made to skip the Undergraduate degree course and was enrolled directly into the Masters degree program. This was how our African genius traveled through the corridors of higher education in Imperial College, without obtaining a first degree, a feat that I am told, has not been equaled since then in the history of that institution.
From there, take-off to Princeton University in the US was a natural and logical step for Francis. That was in 1962, after a two-year stint at the Department of Mathematics at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
I am advised that Francis Allotey was the first African to study at the Mathematics Department of Princeton University, a tremendous feat accomplished at that time. It was while in Princeton studying Mathematical Physics for his Ph.D that Francis Allotey developed his universally acclaimed and world renowned Allotey Formalism theory. Through intrepid research and complicated mathematical calculations, Francis Allotey was able to prove that electrons jump into nucleus only after the nucleus has had an effect called “resonance scattering” on it.
Prof. Allotey’s first wife, Eudoris Enid of blessed memory of the parish of St. Lucy in Barbados bore him two children – Francis Jnr and Joseph. Sadly, she passed on in 1981.
He re-married in 1988 to Asie, my own classmate from the Law Faculty in Legon.
Prof Allotey embraced Asie’s two children warmly as his own. They are Cilinnie and Kay. Regrettably, Asie too passed on in 2011.
The records would show that Prof Allotey did not have the courage to make a third attempt at matrimony though the science of mathematics would seem to suggest that luck attends every third attempt at something good!
RECOGNITION FOR EXCELLENCE
Prof Allotey has been recognized for excellence across many fields and his numerous accomplishments are garnished with several firsts –
A pioneer in Computer Science education at the KNUST, first Ghanaian Full Professor in Mathematics at the KNUST, Chairman of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission on seven different occasions, a member of the UN Secretary General’s Group of 12 Experts to advise on nuclear weapons, a member of the Scientific Council of the world renowned International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy, and Founder of AIMS in Ghana, among other brilliant accomplishments.
In short, Prof Allotey’s singular and sterling achievements are indeed written in gold all over the scientific world and in other areas as well. Prof Allotey both symbolized and nurtured the maturing of science, especially mathematics in Ghana. Through his enterprise and hard work, he transformed the scientific landscape of Ghana, Africa and the world for the better. His singular role in the development and promotion of mathematical sciences in Africa is exemplified in the establishment of the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) (with that imposing and magnificent mountain-top edifice in Biriwa, near Salptond)
His legacy to Ghana and the world through his fine mathematical mind is monumental and our individual and collective debt to him is unusually large.
In short, Prof. Allotey was the quintessential scholar who won the admiration of all. He lived and practiced his profession in several countries and in multiple jurisdictions across the world.
He was tried and tested in all, yet he traversed every jurisdiction with flying colors.
We thank God for making it possible for us to benefit so richly from the decency of his life and the scholarship of his mind.
ALLOTEY’S PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE
There were other sides to Francis Allotey beyond Mathematics and Physics.
So, let me say a word about Prof Allotey as a decent human being and a perfect gentleman.
In a world of unstable values, Prof. Allotey maintained a shining example of simplicity and modesty.
He never lost touch with the common man.
He had a sense of fair play, honesty and sympathy for the underdog, not equaled by many in public or private life.
On a very personal note, Prof Allotey never allowed his supreme knowledge of his subject discipline nor the fact that he was far senior to me to stand between us. Such was the humility of the man!
He was an exemplar. Big hearted and extremely generous, Kofi Allotey cared for and looked after many without counting the cost. As at the time of his passing, Prof Allotey had under his care and protection not less than 10 individuals that he looked after and singlehandedly supported fully. In the area of rural development, Prof Allotey assisted in the establishment of two elementary schools in Edumanfa and Owomasi in addition to funding a library in Saltpond. So long before “one district one factory”, Prof Allotey had his version of an appropriate slogan “One district, two elementary schools and one library!”
God’s beautiful treasure has been returned to Heaven.
So as we proceed to the final farewell, we can say proudly to Prof Allotey -Your life’s work has been accomplished to perfection with aplomb and excellence.
Soft spoken, easy going, never in a fight, seldom appearing to be vexed about anything, generous, and extremely kind –
Warm-hearted, humorous, charming and passionate, Prof Allotey was a giant of this land.
So that no one may accuse me of plagiarism, let me be quick to borrow an apt phrase from President Akufo Addo’s State of the Nation address delivered on the 8th of February, 2018: Prof Allotey was indeed “a national asset”.
What a stupendous life Prof Allotey led!
I am the richer for having known Kofi Ampenyin and worked with him as a colleague and friend.
We thank God for letting Kofi Ampenyin cross our paths. We thank
Him for this blessing on the African continent and the world at large
Within the constraints of human weakness, he gave of his best and in this last fond farewell we now thank God for giving us the opportunity to share in the life and times of Prof Allotey.
He is survived by his children, two boys and two girls – Francis Jnr, Joseph, Cilinnie and Kay, his two surviving sisters Mrs Agatha Narh, Mad. Theresa Allotey and twenty grandchildren.
Our deepest condolences go out to all of them and to the Allotey family of Saltpond and Accra.
Professor of Mathematics, Eminent Scholar, Nuclear and Mathematical Physicist, Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences and numerous other Academies and Learned Societies.
A 12 member delegation from Kenya has arrived in Accra to understudy the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) in its application of Nuclear Technology.
The delegates who will be hosted for a week are representing various institutions including Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO), Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board (KNEB), Kenyatta University (KU), Kenya bureau Board (KeBS), Kenya Industrial Research Development Institute (KIRDS) and the National Commission for Science Technology and Innovations (NACOTI).
The training saw participants through various modules including Strategic Action Plan, Business Plans and a comprehensive tour of the various science laboratories.
The Chief Scientist at the Kenya National Commission for Science Technology and Innovations, David Otwoma who doubles as a team leader of the delegates expressed delight at the technological advancement of GAEC.
According to him, the decision to visit GAEC was informed by its impressive advancement in Nuclear applications as acknowledged by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). He added that, the information they have acquired so far exceeds their expectations and will help enrich their knowledgebase in the application of nuclear technologies back in Kenya.
The Director General of GAEC Prof. Benjamin Nyarko noted in an interview with GAEC Press that, the World including the International Atomic Energy Commission (IAEA) is preaching sustainability for National Nuclear Institutes in Africa; an IAEA project dubbed “RAF 0047”.
According to him, the IAEA RAF 0047 initiative requires that, pragmatic steps are taken to sustain the operations of National nuclear institutions in Africa.
He disclosed that, as some African IAEA member states are working towards signing their first Strategic Action Plan, the commission is currently on its fourth Strategic Action Plan.
He added that, GAEC’s quest to support all member states that knocks at its door is in line with IAEA’s initiatives to ensure sustainability with respect to Nuclear Institutions in Africa.
Prof. Nyarko described GAEC as a “one stop shop” in the West African Sub regions where member states can acquire the needed support in the application of nuclear technologies. He said, the commission has the human capacity.
The Nuclear Chemistry and Environmental Research Centre (NCERC) under the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission has called for the creation of a remediation fund for the mining sector.
The call was made in the quest to find a lasting solution to issues of water contamination and environmental degradation challenges which is as a result of illegal mining activities across the mining regions.
The NCERC conducts environmental research which focuses on groundwater/surface water quality monitoring, soil and air quality monitoring, pesticide residue in food and other biological samples, as well as environmental remediation. The Centre employs nuclear techniques such as stable isotope hydrology and atomic absorption spectroscopy in its work.
The Manager in charge of NCERC Dr. Samuel Afful told GAEC Press in an interview that government need to enforce laws that governs the small scale mining sector and also ensure effective supervision of small scale mining activities that have been duly licensed.
This action according to him will help reduce the high rate of environmental degradation, gold smuggling, occupational hazard, unemployment and among others that will subsequently boost the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Giving insight on what form the “Remediation Fund” should take he proposed that, similar to the Heritage Fund, the Fund must be a constitutional provision that requires small scale gold mining firms to pay a remediation tax.
He also recommended that, all sales of gold and other minerals should be channeled through the Minerals Commission that will oversee the deduction and payment of the remediation levy on behalf of mining companies to ensure compliance. “This is the only way to escape the high cost involved in treating polluted surface and underground water as well as degraded lands.
Citing an example, Dr. Afful Stressed that, portions of the river bed of both River Pra and Ankobra at Prestia; in the western region of Ghana should be excavated in order to remove the contaminants. “The dangers are that, the rivers flow into the sea and in effect, the marine waters will eventually be contaminated by chemicals”
He is confident that, the Atomic Energy Commission has the human capacity and resources to help curb the regrettable situation if funding is made available.
He called on government to consider setting up a Mining Remediation Fund and some other viable initiatives in order to curb the menace.
Ghana’s first female Nuclear Engineer Ekua Mensima has blamed Mathematics as being a threat to the dreams of aspiring young female scientists in Ghana.
The 32 year old award winning scientist told GAEC Press in an interview that, though Mathematics is “an easy to understand” subject it not been fairly handled in schools with respect to delivery.
Ekua, who is currently with the Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) at the Nuclear Safety Department, holds a Mater Degree in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Ghana Graduate School of Nuclear and Allied Science. (GSNAS)
According to her, students are given an extremely weak foundation in mathematics right from pre-school to senior high school level hence resulting in low interest in science especially among female students.
She expressed worry at the fact that, many are still being discouraged from perusing science with an erroneous perception that mathematics is difficult. This she said tends to drive more females away from becoming scientists.
Presenting her case on other challenges, she mentioned gender inequality as another thought-provoking factor.” “A situation where women are seen as custodians of the kitchen is highly demotivating. Most women are faced with inferiority complex situations and this causes them to drop science for fear of their future. “
“Being the only female students in my class, I was not given a fair treatment by one of my lecturers who thought i don’t belong to the science class and as a result, i mostly cry to express my pain. She revealed.
Ekua hinted that, perusing science in Ghana’s University is relatively expensive hence depriving most brilliant but needy female students the opportunity to further. She was thankful to her single parent mother who supported her financially and encouraged her when she almost gave up.
Madam Mensima who is currently a mother of two disclosed that, family responsibility also has a way of pushing women away from choosing science. Using her two children as point of reference, she believes that, she could have advanced beyond her current position if not for the necessary breaks. She acknowledged the support of her husband who has encouraging her to pursue her PHD.
She believes that, women in science play a one hundred and five percent (105%) role than men and must be given the needed push to realize their dreams. “Women are assets on every field and must be encouraged to pursue science. I am confident that, women in science have a bright future since the number of enrolment in graduates schools have increased. “
She appealed to the Ghana Education Service to invest more into grooming good mathematics teachers who can give students solid foundation in mathematics.